I’ve never been big into elaborate fireworks displays in my back yard. I’m more than happy to watch the professionals do it every year in Morton or Sleepy Eye, and just be a spectator.
My reluctance has to do with things blowing up in my hand. When I was in fifth grade I was unloading a roll of paper caps into a cap gun, and was scraping away at the end of the roll with my thumbnail to unstick it.
Somehow or other my thumbnail ignited the nearest cap, and the roll blew up in my hand. It made an impression, both physically and emotionally.
That said, I do enjoy buying sparklers and waving them about in the twilight. I have ever since I was a kid, and they make for good photographs.
Sparklers, to my knowledge, don’t blow up, even if a bunch are ignited at once. They just fizz with light, sort of the optical equivalent of drinking a carbonated drink.
When the Dixon family bought a load of sparklers last week, I took the liberty of examining the warnings printed on the box. Many of them were unintentionally funny.
I look forward to seeing the first non-flammable fireworks.
• “Use only under close adult supervision” with “adult”, I guess, meaning anyone whose age and I.Q. are both over 18, although the label doesn’t say anything about the last part being required.
• “Do not touch hot wood” This is America, buddy. If I want to touch the red-hot glowing tip, I’ll just go ahead and touch the red-hot glowing tip.
• “Hold in hand with arm extended away from body” Really? That’s my natural way of holding a lit sparkler anyway. They have to tell people this?
• “Keep burning end or sparks away from wearing apparel or other flammable material” leads to, “I want my (husband, wife, significant other) to think I’m pretty hot, so I’ll duct-tape all these sparklers to my jammies and see what happens.”
• “Hold or light only one device at a time” Fair enough. You’re only supposed to shoot one cap in a cap gun at a time, and I learned the hard way what happens when a roll’s worth of caps all decide to work together as a team.
• “After use, place wood in water” Water? Wimp. real men toss their used sparklers into the nearest gas can.
(Then again, whenever you find yourself thinking, “Oh, no one could possibly be that dumb,” you see 11 videos on YouTube of someone being exactly that dumb.)
I came up with a few more warnings on my own:
• “Do not stick sparklers up nose, or other bodily orifices.”
Page 2 of 2 - • “Do not use device as a light when reading in bed.”
• “Do not scrape off flammable part as a sugar substitute on your morning bowl of cereal.”
• “If you’re dumb enough to violate any of these rules, please sue your parents, not us. They’re the ones who made you that way.”