A story about smoking.

The big place to watch fireworks is down on the beach and one year my friends and I decided to make an event of it so we packed up a couple of cases and our portable stereo- a car battery, 250 watt car equalizer/amp, a Colecovision power supply and voltage inverter, 2 Walkman CD players, mixer board, and 4 Minimus 7s.

And a blanket.

We got there early so we’d get good seats and were only 3 or 4 rows behind the Police tape and had a fun early evening waiting for the dusk to gather amusing ourselves, scaring little children, and annoying our neighbors.

Nothing like playing the feedback.

As it got darker we switched to more mellow fare, Holst’s The Planets and Pink Floyd as I recall and soon enough the show started and we were right underneath it.

Underneath as in the shells were exploding pretty much directly overhead and showering flaming debris all around us.  A blanket a couple of rows ahead caught fire causing several moments of excitement until somebody remembered that if you just shovel sand on top these things go out.

I personally was put in mind of an old Buck Rodgers comic strip where the villain, in preparation for a duel with Buck, lies down in a field and has his flunkies howitzer him with spikey mace balls to demonstrate his courage until his chief toady right next to him gets kind of, well, squished.  Think chunks of facade landing next to the Orc captain at the siege of Minas Tirith if you’re not getting the 1930s image.

Harmless good times for the most part and it seemed only fitting that when a lit fragment landed close enough to reach without straining I fished out a Kool and kindled it off the chunk.

The difficult thing was the three hours getting out of the parking lot.


  1. I used to spend the whole day at the beach with my Dad on the 4th. He’d set off the fireworks and we’ watch the big displays that were put off by the amusement park.

    VN got a little wild. Nobody paid any attention to the ban on “recreational gun fire”.

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