This weekend is my favorite holiday weekend of the year. With respect to Memorial Day, the 4th of July is probably the most American holiday of the year. To get us in the spirit, I’d like to share with you what the 4th of July means to me.
The 4th of July is trouble holding my beer because my hands are slippery from reapplying sunscreen for the 4th time. It’s the outfits of those who incorporate the flag in creative ways, across bathing suits, on bandanas, on pockets and sunglasses. It’s cannonballs, swan dives, belly flops, and one guy who breaks his leg shorting the jump from the roof, an instant hero. We place a lit cigarette in his mouth as the EMTs roll him away, patting his shoulder and promising him his season isn’t finished even though we know it is. The rest of the crowd applauds in somber fashion but once the ambulance pulls away, the music resumes, and someone yells “what an idiot,” we’re back on.
We have many days ahead of us. The fourth falls on a Tuesday this year, and most people will be taking Monday off. Pace yourselves this weekend; save some energy for Tuesday so we can celebrate our nation’s birthday with the same reckless abandon that won us our independence. Ah, who am I kidding. Go for it tonight, tomorrow, Sunday, and Monday. Play the national anthem Tuesday morning and let your friends bring you back from the dead. Hug people at the bar you don’t know. Pour the sand out of your bathing suit pockets before you fall into bed; with any luck, someone will be in that bed with you–friend or lover–and a sandy bed isn’t fun for anyone.
Go buy iced coffees and breakfast sandwiches while the rest of your house sleeps; it’s the greatest gift you can give. Get your buddy’s back and he’ll get yours, talking about sunscreen again. Throw a perfect spiral with a slick football, hitting a friend in stride as they dive over a wave. He disappears beneath the surf but holds the ball aloft to show the catch was clean. Trust me, she saw it. She’s watching. She likes you too.
Some of you may be at a lake this weekend. Don’t forget bug spray and life jackets. You probably shouldn’t drink the water. Just because it’s your first time on a wakeboard doesn’t mean you can’t do a backflip. Forget showering; just jump in. Hang your towels on a railing to dry and don’t overcook the burgers. Toast the buns briefly and put that cheese on towards the end. If a guy appoints himself grillmaster, let him have it–grillmaster until proven otherwise. It may be his only thing in life.
Pose for sunset pictures with your girl until she has one she likes. Dance at the bar. If you can’t dance, dance. Or sing. Exchange numbers with people and forget to close your tab. You’ll come back in the morning and if not, your bank is just a phone call away.
Most of all, happy birthday, America. Have a fucking weekend.