1. It’s Thursday, July 2, 2015.
2. The year reaches the halfway point today, when 182 days and 12 hours of the year’s 365 days have passed.
At what time that happens depends on where you are. If you are in most of the United States or Europe, where we set the clocks ahead in March, the midpoint is at 1 p.m. If you’re in Arizona or Hawaii or anyplace where Daylight Time doesn’t exist, it’s noon.
Does this matter? Only if it hits you that time keeps rushing by, and 2016 is closer to us than 2014.
3. I get public displays of fireworks, when your town or the fire department or Disney World launches these missiles that triggered explosion of different colored lights. It’s not my favorite form of entertainment — most of these tend to get a little monotonous, with organizers not understanding that more is not necessarily better.
What I don’t get is when people feel compelled to buy stuff that explodes, simply for the thrill of making a loud noise.
The Fourth of July is, of course, the touchstone of this compulsion. Supposedly, people who make loud booms with firecrackers at two in the morning are doing so to celebrate the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It can’t be because they’re celebrating peace and everyone’s good night sleep.
Up until now, I have been fortunate to live in a state where the sale and possession of fireworks has been banned. It hasn’t stopped the easily amused from schlepping 75 or so miles to Pennsylvania, where such sales are legal.
In fact, what set me off is a mailing I got last week. It was from a chain of stores conveniently located right across the borders with New York and New Jersey — states with fireworks banned. This mailing is actually pretty terrifying — in addition to being a horrible example of design. It offers users such delights as aerial repeaters and mortar kits with names such as “Molotov Cocktail,” “Core Reactor” and “Lock and Load,” which, conveniently, is described as “barely legal.”
It’s a nightmarish array. And there’s no goddamn point. This stuff will make a lot of noise and occasional sparks — and do nothing else for its users or the poor souls who have to listen to this stuff. Not to mention the potential for physical harm to the people who set this stuff off or people who happen to be standing in the wrong place.
Unfortunately, as a well-written New York Times piece by my former colleague Stacy Cowley points out, New York is caving on this. New laws allow for individual counties to sell fireworks at temporary stands around the Fourth of July and New Year’s. The reasoning makes economic sense — why should Pennsylvania benefit from the idiocy of firecracker sales when that money could stay here? It’s just that it’s just plain stupid.
4. BTW, here’s the ironic part of this fireworks mailing. The company that sent it is headquartered in Youngstown, Ohio — on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.