Fireworks Cleanup Post #photography

We consider ourselves fairly typical Americans. It was a few nights before the Fourth of July, decidedly my least favorite night of the year. We were in our living room, sitting on our asses and watching TV. Like I said, typical.

Suddenly there was a boom. I looked out the front window and billowing smoke rose from our front yard garden. It had begun.

“Those fireworks are close,” I said. “Damn close.” The shit was literally raining down right on top of us.

On July 4th itself I went outside to see what the hell was going on. I saw one of those colorful bursts like you’d see in any major fireworks display except it was directly over my house. It went off about 20-30 feet over our roof. Two things were immediately obvious: Why don’t they do this shit above their own houses? They’re too good for that! And, wow, they are really good shots. We were being targeted.

The night was hellish. More of our neighbors decided to dabble in the illegal arts. The City of Portland had been bragging about Operation: Lower The Boom. (Get it? Lower. Boom. Ha ha ha! That’s punny.) This was to be a law enforcement action to write $1,000 tickets and seize illegal fireworks. The City even made a website saying that if you saw illegal fireworks, you should call and let them know.

My wife decided to tilt those windmills. She couldn’t get through on the first try. Apparently the operation didn’t include people to answer the phones. She tried again and got a snotty man who said, “Look, lady, they’re going off all over town. We are already aware. There’s only so much we can do.”

I admit I thought it was odd that “There’s only so much we can do” was the official slogan of Operation Lower The Boom.

Why did they publish a number again? Oh yeah, they imagined it made them look good. Nice public relations move. Never mind we were never actually expected to use it. Duh.

A couple of days later and various government agencies issued media releases bragging about their accomplishments. The local stations snatched up this hard news like a dog catching a flying treat launched from a gimmicky container made in China that only an American would actually fall for. “Make a treat fly without having to go to the bother of using your arm to throw.” Sold.

The media reported the news about how many tickets had been written. Wow. Another year and Operation Lower The Boom was an unparalleled success. For everyone except us.

What do you expect? Some criminals are simply too slick to catch. It would have taken some impressive police work to drive through the neighborhood and see subtle signs like bombs bursting in air. Damn those slippery masterminds! We’ll get you next year! Even Batman himself could have done no better.

The next morning I dared to venture out my front door. It had been quiet for a while. The shelling had stopped. Perhaps both sides were honoring the cease fire, although I remained skeptical. A hellish sulfur smell assaulted my senses.

Then I noticed the debris. If the space shuttle had exploded over my house I imagine it might have looked something like this. I have cataloged only a tiny fraction. My camera only has so much memory. I’m sure that the brittle pieces of black plastic will break down and contaminate my otherwise formerly organic front yard garden.

Incidentally, this is the exact same concept as: “Does not have dogs. Front yard covered in poop.” I wrote the book on that.

Why deal with your own shit when you can push it onto someone else? Someone who wasn’t involved and Did Not Want. That must be the American dream that supplanted the trite one about home ownership.

13 responses

  1. Like you, I can do without fireworks. If there are going to be explosions, I say let the 7 fingered professionals do them, preferably over a river.


    1. We live in a highly flammable world and we worry about fire. So much so that we even dip our offspring in flame retardant chemicals. Better a tumor later than dead today, right? But then we go out of our way to make fire a form of entertainment using both cigarettes and dangerous exploding things. What could possibly go wrong? If I was given the power to design a society from scratch no doubt I’d have come up with exactly the same things! Safety is overrated.


      1. The illegality of fireworks in many states, like mine, is a big joke. People get their hands on them anyway, and shoot them off over the homes of others. Police and fire officials in Philly are currently investigating whether a recent house fire which killed 4 kids was started by fireworks. Maybe the cops there will “Lower the Boom” next year too.


      2. Some argue that making something illegal is meaningless if it has little effect on behavior. On one hand, I agree. On the other, I’ve seen that this sort of thing can actually make a difference. To wit, the resurgence of the American bald eagle as a viable species able to live on its own. What’s the difference? A political will and culture that actually gives a shit. Until those ingredients are present nothing will ever change.


  2. Good grief — that is TERRIFYING! I am so sorry you have to put up with that. And that hotline — what a joke. Ugh.

    You’d asked me to report on my own Fourth of July experience — thankfully, we were pleasantly surprised to find *no junk* on the lawn. (Last year someone “gifted” a used diaper.)

    The fireworks at the park were great. The only thing that was *stupid* was the pair of idiot moms who sat in front of us — with seven kids between them, all under 10 years old. We were close enough to *feel* the fireworks in our knees – and the kids (including an infant about 3 mo. old) were terrified. Duh. Not smart ladies, not smart.


    1. Thanks for the followup! Good stuff!

      Remarkably the night after fireworks was almost completely quiet for us. The usual miscreants must have been in other pastures to partaaaaay.

      The next night was a bit worse but not too bad.

      Last night I don’t think we heard a damn thing. Perhaps the Lower The Boom is having an effect after all. Last year it went on for weeks.

      Every day I stroll across the property I find more debris. I found another handful this morning.

      Tucked away on this very blog (somewhere) is a story that relates closely to yours. One year I took my son and girlfriend on my dad’s boat, which he anchored about 100 yards from the Queen Mary in Long Beach. Dad ran the bbq on the top deck for some good eats. It was the closest I’d ever been to a fireworks display in my life. My son (perhaps 10 at the time) screamed “Make it stop!” during the whole thing. Meanwhile, my girlfriend was drooped over the railing puking her guts out. I’d rank that as a pretty good night. 🙂


      1. Um … yeah … sounds like it was a rockin’ good time!!!

        My kiddo’s 13 and still doesn’t like loud noises — perhaps it’s a lingering effect of the ear tubes he had as a baby. But — what kind of *idiot* brings a 3ish month old baby *that close* to fireworks? Poor kid.

        After seeing the photos of your fireworks debris I will *never* complain about the stray junk we find from time to time. [Though I do reserve the right to complain about the dogs.]


  3. You must be on someone’s bad shit list somewhere.
    You need to get moved over to the good shit list.
    If there is one.

    You gotta move, dude.


    1. We thought the fireworks were bad last year. Really loud and rude. But we didn’t find anything in our yard. This year was worse.

      I also can’t help but wonder how expensive this crap is and where the losers get the money to blow it all up. Might be nice to have that kind of discretionary money.

      “The public fireworks displays aren’t good enough for the likes of us. We gotta have our own.”


      1. When it comes to blowing shit up, people will reuse diapers on their child rather than go without fireworks.

        Now that’s a happy thought. *holds her nose*


      2. I love the way you paint with words.


  4. Sending some visitors your way tomorrow evening — hope you don’t mind. 🙂 It’ll be in a “haiku cavalcade”.


  5. […] paper / discovered in the garden – / Happy Fourth […]


Bringeth forth thy pith and vinegar

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: