Happy Birthday, Fourth of July!

I think it was my friend Missy who told me this story. 4th of July 2004, she was at a party on a boat, and there was a girl there who wasn’t from around these here parts and didn’t speak the best English and didn’t always quite get what was going on, but always pretended she did. At the pinnacle of the fireworks display, right at the big finale, in a fit of ecstatic love for her new country, she gleefully shouted, “HAPPY BIRTHDAY, FOURTH OF JULY!”

You gotta love that.

I celebrated America’s independence today by eating McDonald’s food and drinking a Coca-Cola. I was at work, and there were only two of us there, because who in their right mind wants to celebrate our independence from Britain by sending out press releases? (answer: Canadians). Point being, it was really slow and there were only two of us, and I was working a later shift but had eaten lunch really early, and I suddenly became starving. The cafe downstairs was closed for the holiday, and the next closest place was the Mickey-D’s across the street. And let me just tell you something right here and now. I have a pretty serious weakness for Chicken McNuggets. They are so, so good. And please don’t get me started on the sweet & sour sauce, because that sauce? is the nectar of the gods.

Now, I realize McDonald’s is an evil, wicked corporation who does terrible things to people, animals, insects, small businesses, the earth, your health, clowns, inanimate objects, and all that is good and right and holy in the world. But damn, those McNuggets are good. I don’t really know the extent of McD’s sins, and I’m kind of doing the thing where I close my eyes and hold my hands over my ears and hum so I don’t have to face facts, because I would probably be forced to boycot them if I knew. I have a bit of a boycotting problem as it is. I love a good boycot. I haven’t been to Target in over two years simply because they have an unfair return policy and surly store managers. And just today for the first time I tried this new organic deodorant because 1. aluminum is bad for you and 2. I try not to buy cosmetics that are tested on aminals (yes, please pronounce that a-mi-nals, just for fun. Just humor me). The deodorant worked for a good three hours while I sat still at my desk in my air-conditioned office, and frankly I was amazed and waaaay too optimistic about the whole thing. I kept smelling myself and thinking, “Wow, it’s actually working! I smell nothing but the intoxicating aroma of lemon and clary sage. Amazing!” but the minute I moved… like, turned my head to the side or stapled something, that was just too much to ask, and it gave out, and my armpits became gummy for the rest of the day, and I kept having to re-apply (yes, I brought it to work in anticipation of this very problem) until when I raised my arms they didn’t want to raise right at first because the deodorant was acting as a kind of glue, sticking my arms to my sides. (As a side note, tonight I went to a party, and the soap they had in the bathroom was the exact same thing as my new deodorant — Nature’s Gate organic lemon and clary sage. Too bad that as of today, I now associate that smell with that of failing deodorant. mmmm).

So anyway, my point is, I have to pick my battles, and if I’m willing to walk around with gummy armpits so as to avoid causing dead bunnies, then surely I can be excused from the occasional 10 pack of McNuggets. Just sayin’.

Tonight I left work at 8:30 and took freeways to the party. During the whole drive I was surrounded with fireworks in every direction. It made me laugh and smile and feel carefree, and well… patriotic. Whatever people’s reason for celebrating, they were — and it made me feel kind of… un-lonely, like I belonged, like there was this sense of unity — and it reminded me how lucky I am to live here. This country is home, and it’s a good place to be. At a time when I’m not proud of things America is doing, and in many circles patriotism is soooo uncool, I will say that I am proud of where we came from, what we’ve acheived, and most importantly, I’m proud to live in a place where I can be free to go out and celebrate the things I do love about America, and speak out about the things I don’t. In many countries, I wouldn’t even be allowed to have this blog without worrying about getting in trouble for things I say. (As it is, all I have to worry about is looking like a jackass and embarrassing myself). And in some countries I would have to have gotten married by now, and my old, gross husband, to whom my father would have sold me for a cow and a dozen eggs, would tell me to keep my mouth shut and know my place. Or I might not even know how to read or write because I wasn’t allowed to go to school. As a woman, and as a woman in my twenties who is able to be single and free and pursue my dreams, I am so thankful I was born here instead of so many places I could have been born. So thankful I could kiss the ground beneath my feet and give America a big, fat hug.

Happy Birthday indeed, Fourth of July. Happy Birthday indeed.

2 Responses to Happy Birthday, Fourth of July!

  1. Amanda says:

    America! Fuck Ya!
    I ate some of the new Arby’s popcorn shicken shaker thingys and damn, they were good and yes, I’m thinkin Arby’s. I am not lost on the irony of my deoderant (Tom’s of Maine) and shampoo (Nature’s Gate Hemp) not being tested on animals and yet, I eat chicken from who the heck knows where. My wallet is truly mightier then my stomache.

  2. Annie says:

    That reminds me of when, on Thanksgiving, Jeremy called me to wish me well, and with all of this holiday frivolity said, “Happy Birthday!”.

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