It’s hard competing for attention with the Greatest Country on EarthTM. But every 4th of July, that’s what I have to do. My granddad loves to remind me how, 24 years ago, I effed up everyone’s holiday plans when I came into this world looking like a boiled potato. They had to file into the hospital wing ooo’ing and aww’ing, when all they wanted to do was get back to their beers and their chicken wings and the pile of firecrackers they had planned on sticking in a watermelon.
People complain about having their birthdays fall on Halloween, or Christmas. Quit whining, babies. So you have to share your spotlight with a guy in a red suit. But Independence Day is serious. It transcends religious lines. It’s a day that’s about all of us. Which sucks when it’s a day that I want to be all about me. Amidst the beer-drinking and bottle rocket launches, we’re supposed to be thinking about our Forefathers and the Sacrifices they made so we can enjoy Freedom and Liberty and limited forms of Justice. Which makes my insistence on a certain kind of birthday breakfast cereal even more petulant and petty (it’s Coco Crisps, Mom, it’s always been Coco Crisps).
There is no “I” in country.
There is no “Me” in independence.
There are no pink birthday candles for sale at the grocery store because they’re all red, white and blue.
My birth seems small in the face of the birth of a nation.
BUT there is good news.
Americans have collectively chosen to celebrate America’s birthday by eating and drinking their weight in freedom. Coincidentally, that’s how I like to celebrate my birthday as well. Always has been (see above). Things have worked out all right over the years.
Although, I swear, if I get one more present wrapped in a replica of the Declaration of Independence …
Happy 4th, ya’ll.