A Rather Curious Decision

Life is full of decisions that directly affect us, but are made without our consent or input. In any highly-contested matter of public policy, we are peppered with opinions and bombarded with exaggerated notions of what will happen if a law is made or amended. One side of the argument sees our country moving to a more progressive society while the other warns of the imminent decay of the very moral fiber of our nation. In a stunning turn of political events, I cannot believe the audacity of our government to pervert something sacred.

Of course, I’m talking about the legalization of fireworks in the state of Georgia. A decision that has shattered the sacred peace of every citizen hoping to find sleep a decent hour.

I am outraged! Who would think it was a good idea to give already over-armed, drunk rednecks flammable and wildly unpredictable projectiles that have the capability to set an entire neighborhood ablaze?

Happy Fourth of July!!!

rainbow fireworks

I’m reminded of a 4th of July family reunion many years ago when my people converged on cabin in the hills of Tennessee. My brother-in-law found it prudent to pick up some fireworks on the way. When the big day came, we sought a safe place to launch our fireworks. We surveyed the landscape and found not a single flat spot an appropriate distance from the cabin.

So, what do two bright young men with an insatiable desire for colorful explosions do? Stack up rocks and sticks to fabricate a semi-flat launching pad. Smart….

Let the festivities begin!

Bottle rocket inserted and wick lit, we took off running in opposite directions. Our makeshift flat surface immediately crumbled and the bottle began to spin like teenagers playing the old flirting game. Imagine the odds: 360 degrees in a circle, with my B-I-L taking up maybe five degrees one direction and me taking up five in another. That leaves 350 available degrees for that bottle rocket to point and fire.

I wish camera phones were available then. Because we would have won the jackpot on America’s Funniest Home Videos.

Of course, that thing didn’t go for the other 350 degrees. It launched directly at my B-I-L’s butt and exploded upon impact. Being a field artillery specialist, I was stunned with its accuracy. In fact, I would wager I couldn’t have held it in my hands and fired for the same effect. He was not so impressed. The pain wasn’t hospital-worthy, but hurt nonetheless. We also had a good bit of tamping to do with the ancillary fires caused by our negligence.

* * * * * * * * * *

We’ve both grown out of our stupid ways (for the most part) and become contributing members of society. A society that now can legally aim bottle rockets straight at us.

In these days when staff reductions have hit state and county employees such as our fine firefighters, bully for you Georgia legislature. Now that you have decided legalizing fireworks is a good idea, I hope each of you live next door to a drunk, excited neighbor who celebrated until 3 a.m. like mine did.

I don’t watch the news, have there been any other decisions with such far-reaching implications made lately?

Tax Day – But I’m not Bitter

I think April 15th would be the worst birthday to have. There are two kinds of people as it relates to taxes – those who get a check and those who have to send a check. If you have to send a check (like me), you grudgingly hold onto it until the last minute and mail it on April 14th, leaving you broke and unable to buy a present for your friend with a birthday the following day. If you get a check, you filed in early February. Since you considered the return a sudden windfall, you blew it on something frivolous like a snowcone maker, leaving you no residual to buy a present for your friend with the worst birthday of the year.

Conversely, there would be something extremely cool about being a leap baby and having February 29th as your birthday.

1040_formThat tidbit is irrelevant today since I just had to write a check to the United States Treasury! Oh, I understand that it costs to provide government services. I know it has to come from the citizens. I just hate filling that out on the check – and then they want me to Fed X it or pay extra for a return confirmation. I’m sorry, but aren’t I paying for the postal service to be sufficient to deliver your money to you? If you have any doubts whether the man in blue who just took my envelop can discharge his duty properly, shouldn’t you institute a better employee screening process instead of charging me another $4.50?

I’m not bitter, though. Not at all.

But while I’m on the subject, I remember when I took my first baby home from the hospital in mid-December. When I did my taxes, I felt like I had cheated the world since I got a deduction for the entire year and she only cost me for two weeks. That was eighteen years ago. So this year I lost the tax credit for her because she turned eighteen. I love her dearly, but like most children, she is complete financial dead weight – all cost, little contribution. And let me tell you Mr. United States Treasury, she costs considerably more now at eighteen than she did at one. I’d trade diapers and formula for cell phones, clothes, gas and car insurance any day.The_taxes_by_Orlov

I’m not bitter, though. Not at all.

I could go on, about paying into a social security system that I am assured will not exist when I am of age to need it. That’s why I had four kids, they are a kind of a retirement plan for me. I figure I can rotate a week a month at each of their houses and mooch off them just to pay them back. I’ll refuse to wear pants, make odd noises and smells, and sit on the front porch complaining about the government all day.

I’m not bitter, though. Not at all…


Photo credit: Robert N. Dennis Collection of Stereoscopic Views
Artwork: The Taxes by Orlov