Sound and fury

The Fourth of July is a quintessentially American holiday, composed of over-the-top visuals, deafening noise, national self-aggrandizement and victimization of vulnerables, especially dogs, thousands of which will run away, cower in terror, or simply wet themselves.

I may well do the same, as each year, I find myself more averse to these cacophonous, polluting celebrations of the Glory of Us, which also terrorize wildlife, re-traumatize combat veterans, start fires and land thousands of people in emergency rooms.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 10,000 fireworks-related injuries were treated in hospitals last year — the figure has remained around the same since 2003 — and 12 Americans died, up from 5 in 2018.

Still, people:  We have to do better. If we’re going to put other species through this awful holiday, surely we can at the same time kill off more of ourselves, as keener wits than mine have observed.twain

“Statistics show that we lose more fools on this day than in all the other days of the year put together,” wrote Mark Twain. “This proves, by the number left in stock, that one Fourth of July per year is now inadequate, the country has grown so.”

Since Twain’s time,   fatalities associated with New Year’s Eve fireworks have obviated the need for a second Independence Day. But I’m still blue that a nation with our putative intelligence isn’t enlightened enough to celebrate itself in a way that respects the sensibilities of the vulnerable among and around us. Why not day-time festivals featuring homespun American music and food?  Why not night- time laser or light shows to provide awe, without the shock?

The white and the red in my commemoration this year will be chardonnay and a delicate strawberry from my garden patch, imbibed in my basement, where my animals and I – like thousands of other Americans, many likewise tranquilized – will be waiting out the patriotic pyrotechnics.  Which —  in the Trump era —  seem especially a tale told by an idiot: Full of sound and fury,  signifying nothing.






  1. slukwago · · Reply

    “Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” The truth. The pithy whole truth.
    A joy to see your writing again, Rafiki


    1. Thanks, my friend.


  2. Could not agree more!
    Wish I had a soundproof vault to retreat to with my animals…


    1. I’m lucky that my neighborhood is generally quiet, and that I have cats and hens, who are not near as bothered as dogs. I am hoping many big public displays are nixed this year because of the pandemic. Go, coronavirus!

      Liked by 1 person

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