The title of this post is what I yelled to my friend Nellie as I stumbled past her last night, July 4th. I was meandering up Clark Street with my friends after a night of watching amateur fireworks at Montrose Beach. Montrose Beach’s fireworks display is an annual tradition of mine. Not of my friends and myself. Just mine. I’ve been three years now in a row. It’s a little gem of Chicago that not many white people know about. Mexican families from across the city convene at Montrose Beach to light of professional-grade explosives next to the lake. Unlike those pesky professional shows where they rope you off to keep you safe, the Montrose extravaganza is gate free. You just show up and hope to God you don’t get a hand blown off or an eye poked out. But the colors! Brilliant! By the end of the night the air is so thick with smoke that it looks like a low-lying fog has set in. It makes you truly appreciate the fight our forefathers waged to gain our country’s independence as the setting has an eerire feel of an actual warzone.
I realized yesterday as I drank cup after cup of sugary margarita mix and stared out into the lake while little Hispanic children lit off backyard A-bombs ten feet away from me that there really is a deep meaning to July 4th, that there is a reason I get all tingly when this holiday rolls around, why that day is different than all others. The reason is because it truly is a day to say “Fuck you!” to everyone and everything. It truly is “Do What You Feel Like Day.” Want to light a city park on fire? Do it! The cops can’t stop you cause it’s your God-given right. You want to drink until you can’t walk straight? Do it! Because you’re a citizen of the freest nation on this planet. Whatever it is that your heart yearns to do, no matter how destructive or depraved, July 4th is the day to just do it. Fuck what the authorities think. If they give you trouble, punch them in the face with a fist full of Old Glory.
So as I stumbled by Nellie, as she was convening with a group of lesbians, as I was walking with gay men, as we were in public on a city street and I was waving around a jug of the sweetest margarita mix on the planet, I really felt a sense of what America is all about. It’s about screaming at your friends like a drunk slut on Whore Day not giving a damn that the rest of the world doesn’t want to hear what you have to say. It’s about peeing on a city street because you’re too lazy to find a bathroom. It’s about falling asleep while in the middle of masterbating because you’re too damn drunk to finish the job.
God Bless America. My Home Sweet Home.