Fireworks tradition was lit in 1776

This week we celebrate that fateful day in 1776 when the Founding Fathers, who were then just Founding Teenagers, were goofing off with firecrackers in the alleyway behind Independence Hall and accidentally launched one off into the British?s shrubbery, catching it on fire.

This really ticked the British off.

So they marched their army over?on the wrong side the road, no less?to teach those meddlin? Founders a lesson, but got the backsides of their red coats whooped and went crying home to King George the Unamused, who kicked the Americas out of the kingdom just for spite.

We?ve been shooting off fireworks this time of year ever since.

Now, don?t think I?m belittling the Founding Fathers? significance to this nation. Many of them went on to lead very productive lives, such as Benjamin Franklin, who decided to fly his kite in a thunderstorm and discovered to his shock that the insurance company could use that as an excuse to dramatically increase his premium.

In fact, the electrocution had such an adverse effect on Ben that they made him be in charge of the post office.

This column, however, is actually supposed to be about fireworks. Please turn back with me to paragraph four, and we?ll continue as planned:

We?ve been shooting off fireworks this time of year ever since.

There?s something inherently American about spending hard-earned money on an historically Chinese invention specifically for the intention of blowing it up a few minutes later. You think I?m being facetious, but I really do enjoy watching fireworks.

From a safe distance.

About the only form of July 4 pyrotechnics I?ll actively engage in are snappers, those tiny dumplings of sand and gun powder wrapped in a pinch of toilet paper.

Anything much bigger than that and my life ends up flashing before my eyes for fear that a flash before my eyes will end my life.

(I was going to humorously call this fear of being near fireworks ?pyrophobia? until I looked it up and found it was a real condition, so now I?m going to have to see my psychiatrist.)

This fear likely started back in elementary school when I was celebrating Independence Day with some extended family. There was an aerial display package that looked like a hundred rolls of quarters wrapped in red cellophane with a wick sticking out the bottom. (Bottom Wicks would be a good name for a punk rock band.)

Unfortunately, one particular family member who shall remain nameless because I don?t know who it was unpacked this thing, thinking it was more like a string of giant Black Cats, instead of a series of flaming projectiles.

Are you familiar with how Tony Stark shoots balls of fire from the palm of his hand? It was kind of like that, only much more terrifying. I dropped my sparkler and dove behind a pickup truck as pink flames of death zinged overhead, underhead and dead ahead.

But don?t let that story deter your firework festivities on the fourth. Just stay away from the British shrubberies. They hate that.