I am not going to write about the way we celebrate our country every year.

And I am certainly not going to suggest that maybe getting slobbering drunk while using products made in China to litter our streets and keep children and pussies early risers like me awake until 3 a.m. might not be the best way to show our appreciation for those honorable men and women who have given everything for our freedom.

Because apparently, according to those with whom I’ve shared these concerns, not wanting to trash our lovely country and wishing that people could be reasonable makes me un-American.

Despite the fact that my great-grandfather, after whom my only son is named, fought in WWII, and despite the fact that my biological father was in Vietnam when I was born, somehow, simply because I care about the environment, I am completely unaware of the sacrifices made by our military members.

(Damned hippie.)

I am definitely not going to talk about how I’ve been told that I don’t appreciate my country properly because I think people should be considerate of others and stop shooting off loud things by midnight on the 4th of July. And on the 2nd, 3rd, 5th, and 6th of July, if you live in my neighborhood.

(Boy, my neighbors sure do love their country. They don’t give two shits about the people trying to live in it with them, but man, whatta bunch of patriots. Hats off to you, you Budweiser-clutching defenders of democracy. I’m sure all of the soldiers who have actually been in battle and suffer from PTSD really appreciate the way you honor their service by shooting bottle rockets at their cars and houses for a week every summer.)

So that’s not what I’m going to write about today either. Because I don’t think the fireworks have anything to do with it. And because hey, guess what? I’m not made of stone, people. I think fireworks are fucking pretty. I am a sucker for shimmering lights and bright colors, and fireworks give me both of these things. It’s a win-win.

I won’t share my fond, nostalgic memories of watching the adults light fireworks in the driveway the second we achieved dusk. And I won’t remember the excitement of running in terror from the Catherine wheels that spun around furiously, making our little-kid hearts race with the thrill of escaping certain death, or at least a stinging sensation to the ass cheek. I also won’t share that I still have a Pavlovian response of, “Oh shit. RUN!” when I hear that high-pitched spinning, whirring sound they make, even if it’s houses away. I won’t admit that I love the sulphuric smell of smoke bombs, or that the burned coal tar stench of black snakes heaped in ashy piles on the sidewalk will make me swoon with olfactory reminiscence. There will be no shameful confessions that I’m still a little bit afraid to hold a sparkler, or that I manically scream, “FEUERWERK!” and laugh hysterically along with the rest of my wacky German family every year.

(You had to be there.)

I promise not to babble on with fond recollections of sitting on the roof of my house in Phoenix as a youngster to watch the fireworks, when we would climb up next to our swamp cooler to look around and marvel at the incredible displays of color and light exploding in every direction across the dark desert skies. I won’t share that I even wrote and recorded a song in my band The Glitter Kicks about how every year on the 4th of July we all forget about boring grown-up stuff to feel giddy anticipation again like children. I won’t share my namby-pamby, touchy-feely thoughts about how it’s important to stay in touch with the kids we once were because they remain a big part of who we’ve become as adults.

Rest assured that with my appreciation for the neat parts of the holiday firmly established, I am not going to write some sort of anti-Independence Day diatribe. Because I think my issues with humanity go beyond one day a year. And I’ve realized that my problem with the holiday has nothing to do with the holiday at all. It’s a fabulous holiday.

What is truly bothering me is the lack of respect for others. The narcissistic sense of entitlement held by so many thoughtless pricks among us. The lack of awareness that there are other people in this country, nay, on this planet, with whom we are sharing it.

What’s bothering me is that one day a year, people use the 4th of July holiday to act like a bunch of oblivious-to-everyone-else-in-the-world dickweeds.

What’s bothering me even more is that people are starting to act like this on the other 364 days of the year as well.

What’s bothering me the most is that the global stereotype of an American has become that of a rude, fat, loudmouthed, inconsiderate moron, and I am unable to escape or refute that stereotype every time I go out in public these days.

I’m absolutely not going to bore you by expounding on this thought and discussing the different forms of self-centered behavior I see on a daily basis. I won’t give examples, like when someone yapping or texting on a cell phone swerves into my driving lane, or can’t be bothered to undertake the arduous, wrist-straining task of using a turn signal.  When some lazy piece of shit takes up two parking spaces because backing up their car and pulling into the space properly would have been thirty seconds of their life spent thinking about someone besides themselves. Or when my neighbors play their music so loudly coming and going in their cars at 2 a.m. that it rattles my house windows, waking me up. Or when they let their dogs take huge dumps all over my yard and don’t pick it up. Or when they sit in their open garages, talking so loudly on the phone that I can hear the conversation clearly through my closed front office window. Or when they mow their lawns in the dark, at nearly 10 p.m. like this is a normal thing to do. As if everyone around them deserves to be kept awake because they can’t manage their time like responsible humans.

A perfect example of what is actually bothering me would be the fact that I had to stop writing this because my neighbors across the street decided that 6 a.m. would be an acceptable time to scream and curse so loudly in their front yard that it woke up my five-year-old son, effectively ending my early morning writing time.

But I am not going to share that example either, because I don’t want to seem like a spoilsport or curmudgeon. I wouldn’t want to tread on the rights of another American to wake up the entire neighborhood because they need to screech expletives at their teenaged son and then throw things around the garage in a blind rage for a few minutes. Because I’m not some kind of pinko commie, goddammit.

I won’t propose to anyone here today that when some people call America a free country, what they really mean is a country free of self-control and free of self-awareness. That when they call it a free country, they mean a country full of people free to be inconsiderate fuckheads who will disturb the peace and quality of life of the people around them without a moment’s thought or consideration to consider the effect they’re having on the world. I certainly will not suggest that America is becoming the land of the free to have one’s head firmly up one’s ass at all times. And I won’t harp on about the Declaration of Independence and the idea on which our country is supposed to be founded – that all men are created equal – because apparently men making really important cell phone calls who swerve into my lane, nearly hitting my son’s side of the car are more equal than my child and I.

I will not declare that pride in one’s country should start with pride in one’s self. That good people are what make a good country good. And that good people do not shit on each other. Because that would seem too obvious.

I’m not going to mention that the problem actually isn’t the 4th of July holiday, while griping about how some people who don’t care about anyone but themselves use the holiday as a ruse to display their complete lack of respect for plants, animals, and humans – the very things that make up the country they are “celebrating.” I won’t imply that some consider July 4th an excuse to crank their inner asshole knobs up to eleven, and have the nerve to call it a display of patriotic pride. Or worse: have the nerve to call me un-American because I dare suggest it might better honor our country to show some consideration for its inhabitants.

I’m definitely not going to write anything assuming that this Independence Day, Lady Liberty will most likely be beaten down, as usual, by imbeciles who equate being proud Americans with drunkenly shooting imported Roman candles at each other and leaving trash in the streets for the rest of us to either pick up or trip over for months afterward. And even though I still believe that under that pile of firework debris and empty beer cans stands an elegant torch-holding gal in a toga, I am not going to discuss the way I refuse to give up and let the jerks ruin a really cool holiday for the decent people who choose to celebrate it responsibly.

I am especially not going to ramble on about how I think we can be better than this. Or that I believe we can show respect for our fellow humans by ceasing to be loud at a reasonable hour every day of the year, and remembering that we’re all in this together. I wouldn’t dare suggest that we can pick up our litter and show real respect for our beautiful country by keeping it clean and taking care of it.

To make my point, I am not going to show you pictures of my suburban neighborhood street that is already covered with firework and alcohol detritus from two days of “celebrating our freedom” with at least two more days of “appreciating America” to go before it’s over, depending on how many foreign-made fireworks Bubba and Billy Bob down the street buy this year. I won’t complain that we’ve had to call the police already this week to get our neighbors to stop hollering, “WHOOOOO! ‘MERICA!” while making things explode until well past midnight.

I will never, ever write about how our citizens should be collectively intelligent enough to celebrate the birth of a great nation without destruction of property and oblivion to common courtesy.

And I’m definitely not going to write a piece bitching about the thoughtless, ruining-good-things-for-the-rest-of-us, worthless, waste-of-oxygen douchebags who once a year choose to celebrate everything great we’re supposed to be as citizens of an amazing country by instead acting like a bunch of rude, littering, noisy, inbred idiot motherfuckers.

Nope. Not gonna do it.

Because I think that all I really want to write here is happy birthday. Yes. That’s exactly what I want to say.

Happy birthday, America.

Stay classy.





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TAWNI FREELAND played guitar and sang for rock bands in Lawrence, Kansas and Los Angeles before settling down in Tulsa. She is working on her first novel. She has no exotic pets.

59 responses to “Let the Eagle Sour, Er, Soar”

  1. Gloria says:

    Yes. Living in Oklahoma made me feel this way, too.

    Glad you didn’t say any of that. Glad all that you got to say was Happy Birthday to this great nation, that isn’t completely full of douchebags, dumbasses, and negligent rednecks (though if you plotted where these types lived, Oklahoma my just be the epicenter. Wanna see if we can have this study funded?!)

    Maybe you’ll feel better if you take a nap? Sadly, you probably won’t be able to do this until this coming weekend…

    • Richard Cox says:

      I have no lost love for Oklahoma, but I think reducing Tawni’s beautiful essay with geography is a mistake. These entitled assholes are all over the country.

      • Gloria Harrison says:

        Things I feel are particular to Tawni’s regional experience:

        …Budweiser-clutching defenders of democracy…

        …shooting off loud things by midnight on the 4th of July. And on the 2nd, 3rd, 5th, and 6th of July…

        …the global stereotype of an American has become that of a rude, fat, loudmouthed, inconsiderate moron… (she admits she is “unable to escape or refute that stereotype every time [she] go[es] out in public these days.” I do not have that same experience every time I go out in public.)

        …neighbors play their music so loudly coming and going in their cars at 2 a.m. that it rattles house windows…

        …let their dogs take huge dumps all over my yard and don’t pick it up…

        …when they mow their lawns in the dark, at nearly 10 p.m. like this is a normal thing to do…

        …suburban neighborhood street that is already covered with firework and alcohol detritus from two days of “celebrating our freedom” with at least two more days of “appreciating America” to go before it’s over, depending on how many foreign-made fireworks Bubba and Billy Bob down the street buy this year…

        Things I feel are particular to both mine and Tawni’s regional experiences (and, therefore, possibly more universal?):

        The narcissistic sense of entitlement held by so many thoughtless pricks among us. The lack of awareness that there are other people in this country, nay, on this planet, with whom we are sharing it.

        …can’t be bothered to undertake the arduous, wrist-straining task of using a turn signal…

        …someone yapping or texting on a cell phone swerves into my driving lane…

        …sit in their open garages, talking so loudly on the phone that I can hear the conversation clearly through my closed front office window…

        But this isn’t about whether or not Portland is better than Oklahoma (all of it) or whether Oklahoma is a bunch of backwoods rednecks. My point was that some places have a higher concentration of certain types of inconsiderate behavior and narrow minded thinking than other places. And in my own personal experience, Oklahoma has a particularly high concentration of the types of behaviors and attitudes Tawni described in this piece. I’ll even go one step further and admit that I’m no fan of Oklahoma. That I in fact have a chip on my shoulder about it because of my excessively negative experience there and in most of the south during my adolescence, and I’m in no way being objective. Nonetheless, while what Tawni writes about contains pithy universal truths at its core, it’s not unreasonable to suggest that a change of scenery might just help mitigate her overall negative perspective on humanity. ‘Cause it did wonders for me.

        That’s all I was saying.

        • Gloria says:

          Hey! Look at my ridiculously long response

        • Richard Cox says:

          Well, we can’t all live in glorious Portland. She could move to midtown Tulsa and get at least halfway to the experience you live. Of course that’s pretty much the only place in Oklahoma that can even approach Portland, but last night I went to a show put on by Crispin Glover in an old art house theater and was surrounded by the type of folks you probably are used to in your neck of the woods.

          I find it strange that I would even consider defending this place, but on the other hand, not pointing out some of the local positives would be hypocritical in a way since I hang out with awesomely artistic people all the time. And I’d put our literary scene against most cities two or three times the size of Tulsa. Which is not even what Tawni’s post is about, so I’ll stop here.

        • Gloria Harrison says:

          Portland has its issues. And I’m a negative, judgmental tool at times. There, I said it.

          Crispin Glover? No shit? Marty McFly Crispin Glover? What was that all about? Sounds kind of cool.

          You live there. Tawni lives there. My sister lives there. Clearly bright, likable people live there. Ain’t nowhere perfect.

          Do you like Ursula Le Guin? Of course you do, who the hell am I asking. She wrote a short story called “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas.” Basically, all I’m saying is that every place has the kid tied up in the basement.

          Still, there’s something about Oklahoma…

          Though I’ll admit that you have me absolutely intrigued about Tulsa. I’ve never been there.

        • Tawni Freeland says:

          Dude. You went to the Crispin Glover show? I read about that in the paper and wanted to check it out so badly. Jealisssss.

          G ‘n’ R: My husband Dave made the same comment (as Richard) upon reading this rant, that we encountered just as many entitled assholes in Los Angeles as we do here. But I explained that maybe the difference in this particular instance is that assholes here are allowed to shoot off loud explosives for a week every summer, which maybe makes them a bit more “noticeable” and in-your(my)-face. We finally agreed that assholes exist everywhere, and those assholes will be as assholish as their options allow. Yay.

  2. Tawni Freeland says:

    “Ohhhhhhhhhh-klahoma, where the shoot me in the fucking head!”

    Wait, those aren’t the lyrics. Hmm. I’ll have to Google it.

    Yes, this may well be the epicenter of assholery. I’ve lived in Arizona, Missouri, Kansas, and California, but Oklahoma wins, no contest. You did your time here. I know you get it, girl.

    It doesn’t help that my suburb is exceptionally trashy, even by OK standards. I’ve never been surrounded by such a vast collection of fuckwad neighbors in my whole life. It’s impressive, even.

    I was planning on taking a nap because they’re going to no doubt keep me awake again tonight, but they’ve already started shooting stuff off. They’re not even pretty, the daytime fireworks. Just loud. Worthless.

    Thanks for the commiseration, Boo.

    xoxo.

  3. Marybear says:

    he he he ….we only let our douche bags free after Stanley cup games

  4. Weirdly we don’t have this problem in Britain…

    God Save the Queen!

    • Tawni Freeland says:

      Lucky you. (:

      • James D. Irwin says:

        Well, of course we do, just not on 4th July.

        Guy Fawkes Night is kind of the same in this country re: annoying fireworks that last for weeks afterwards and generaly dick-headishness from everyone.

        Mostly though we all sit around drinking tea and being pleasant about things.

        • Tawni Freeland says:

          Mmmmmm… tea and pleasantries. That works for me. Throw in some scones and we have a deal, sir.

  5. tammyallen says:

    Have you heard about Free Baja. There’s a group of people, including myself, trying to get making Southern AZ its own state because we are mortified by the greedy, evil people that apparently don’t believe in healthcare or education or the environment and they hate all immigrants. It’s an end-of-the-universe shot (long) but it says something. It raises eyebrows; it means there are good people with compassion for each other; it means I’m not alone in being a decent human being.

    I’m sorry you live in OK. But AZ has become the next epicenter of entitlement. It’s a national epidemic.

    So thank you for not pointing that out because I used to run around outside with my dad on the fourth at about 5pm (a decent time) banging on pots, shouting “Happy Birthday America!” for about 2 min.

    You have shown phenomenal restraint in refraining from writing about the decline of the inhabitants of America.

    Happy Birthday America. I haven’t given up. . . yet.
    Tammy Allen

    • Tawni Freeland says:

      Oh my. Southern Arizona is thinking about succeeding from the Union? I hadn’t heard about that. Well if it helps at all, please know that I have many Arizona relatives there who vote Democrat. (:

      Thanks so much for reading, Tammy. xoxo.

  6. tammyallen says:

    Why don’t I proof before I post? Sheesh

  7. Tawni, how I wish I would have taken a picture for you of the ginormous company truck from a firing range I saw this morning pulling a trailer with a cannon on it draped with a banner that read, “Spark the fuse for FREEDOM!” Something tells me there will be beers and roman candles in that guy’s fists at midnight. Even though they’re banned this year due to the drought. Correction: *especially* because they’re banned this year.

    • Tawni Freeland says:

      “Spark the fuse for FREEDOM!”

      Wow. That’s awesome. He totally wins.

      I don’t understand why people in states experiencing droughts would even consider sending fire shooting out into the unknown. Today I’m reading about local fires in many states started by fireworks, wondering what the people who started those fires were thinking might happen if they sent explosives racing out to meet with the dry land. I mean… duh, right?

      Hmm.

      I hope you had a peaceful holiday, lovely Ms. Cynthia. xoxo.

  8. Matt says:

    I just cannot wrap my head around the mentality of those who thump their chests and shout “Patriotism! Freedom!” while shitting all over the freedoms of others. The Bill of Rights doesn’t say “Freedom of expression so long as you conform with the masses” it just says “freedom of expression.” Assholes.

    But enough of that. Happy birthday, America! I’m going to go get drunk in your honor.

    Again.

    • I wish I’d kept the original postscript of my post, which was about how stupid people can be over national pride. It’s important to have a bit of pride in your heritage, but not blind idolisation that causes you to act like an utter dick and keep the beaches open even though there’s a shark on the loose.

    • Tawni Freeland says:

      I had to drink some liquid courage/tranquilizer myself, Matt. I’m as jumpy as a house pet during this holiday of loud explosives from noon through midnight. I try to relax, but I never seem to get used to it. The rest of the year, I’m trained that loud, popping noises outside that sound like someone banging on my house are cause for alarm. It’s hard to suddenly shut that instinct off for a few days.

      So… yay America! But especially… yay alcohol! (:

  9. Jim Bee says:

    Tawni, You have hit the nail so right on the head~! Most of those idiots probably don’t even realize that we still have a military that is protect our freedom.

    xoxox
    Jim

    • Tawni Freeland says:

      Ha. My biggest pet peeve is when people try to compare fireworks to being in battle. Like anyone non-military who hasn’t been in battle or experienced actual weaponry exploding can even imagine what that must be like. It’s insulting to people who have fought for our freedom to compare Black Cats crackling in a cul-de-sac to war time.

      Thank you so much for reading, Jim. xoxoxoxo.

  10. tammyallen says:

    I just read the Title. It’s perfect.

    • Tawni Freeland says:

      Thanks. It was one of those “Typo… oops. Oh, wait… that’s much better!” kinds of things. (:

  11. Happy Birthday, America…and Happy Almost Birthday, TNB! Hope you’re well, Tawni.

    • Tawni Freeland says:

      TWO great birthdays! Yippee! (:

      Thanks so much, Rich. I hope you’re having a beautiful day. xoxo.

  12. dwoz says:

    Early

    In our collective consciousness

    We co-opted the eagle

    From our native brethren

    To be symbol of our greatness.

    Now, in the twilight

    of our nation’s teen years

    Perhaps the Seagull

    Would have served

    More aptly

    • Tawni Freeland says:

      Hahahaha. You made me actually laugh out loud. I’ve been giggling over the “celebuverse” website this morning, and I think it primed me perfectly for the style of your funny comment. And yes, seagull. Maybe pigeon. Or maybe we should have just listened to good old Ben and gone with the turkey?

      Thanks, dwoz. (:

      • dwoz says:

        Definitely Seagull over the pigeon or turkey. The pigeon and turkey are merely stupid, not venal.

        Or, if you prefer a literary take on it, “albatross.”

        I present my case:

        A) the seagull is an indiscriminate scavenger and will eat almost anything, including camera lens covers.

        B) the seagull hangs out in garbage dumps.

        C) the seagull prefers to steal it’s meal from another seagull, rather than find it’s own.

        D) the seagull often loses a fresh meal because the meal scurries to safety while the gull is trying to make sure that other seagulls don’t get any.

        E) the seagull defecates about a pint of effluent at a go, and prefers to do it over car windshields.

        F) the seagull steals nesting sites from other birds.

        G) the seagull is technically edible, but tastes so bad and foul that nobody will eat one. Not even sharks.

        SO….what’s not to like?

        • Tawni Freeland says:

          A pint?

          Eeeeew.

          But I’m very much convinced by your case. (You had me at albatross.) Seagull it is! (:

  13. Michelle C says:

    What’s bothering me even more is that people are starting to act like this on the other 364 days of the year as well.

    Right on, T dawg.

    This is what it all boils down to for me. Every year, day by day, watching the demise of civilization unfold (from my prime front-row seat provided by my neighbors, 98% of people who drive, and working at the library), culminating in the “oblivious-to-everyone-else-in-the-world dickweed” (HEY! These M-80’s are COOL. Dey goes BOOM!!) holiday which results in a good 3-5 days of my dogs being reduced to terrified, inhibited, sad little things who are too scared to even enjoy the simple pleasure of going potty in the back yard. (They don’t ask for much, people, really.)
    Oh, and of course then there’s the leftovers that they continue to randomly set off for the remainder of the month.

    That’s why if I get a modicum of courtesy, like, say, a simple “thank you”, I nearly cream my jeans.

    • Tawni Freeland says:

      “HEY! These M-80’s are COOL. Dey goes BOOM!!”

      Bwahahahaha.

      Oh, dear. Driving. I dread it because it makes me so sad. It’s often such an ugly display of negative human nature and I hate watching it unfold before me. No consequences or accountability for bad behavior seems to bring out the worst in people. Driving is kind of like the internet that way: you can be a shit to someone and you don’t have to face them while you do it. The other side of that coin being road rage, which is just as upsetting. People forget that even excellent drivers make mistakes sometimes, that nobody’s perfect, and get so mean. I avoid driving if at all possible because it makes me lose faith in humanity every time. I find it depressing. My son is starting public kindergarten this year, so I’ll be searching for a day job, and number one on my requirements list is minimal commute.

      The leftovers. I know I will be listening and jumping nervously around my house for a few more evenings as they get rid of the damned leftovers. And I feel so sorry for all of the pets on the 4th of July. I know many people who actually have to drug/tranquilize their pets for it.

      On a happier note: Thank you so much for reading and commenting, Michelle! I hope you have a lovely day. (:

      • Michelle C says:

        hahaha Seriously, dude.

        Oh yes, minimal commute Number 1!!

        Fortunately, they’re ok inside the house, but that sort of defeats the purpose of having a home with a big back yard. I may have to just try the ol’ thundershirt next year.

        You’re welcome, and thank you. Hope you have a lovely day too. I’ll be working but at least it’s a short shift today. (“kittens in bubbles, kittens in bubbles…”)

  14. Becky Palapala says:

    I won’t share my fond, nostalgic memories of watching the adults light fireworks in the driveway the second we achieved dusk.

    To me, this is key. There were children present.

    As far as I’m concerned, people can be as fat and redneck-y and Budweiser-clutching as they like. I hardly think this is a sign of the decline of our civilization since this is really just a historical norm rather than some new development.

    I quite enjoy Budweiser.

    But whatever. That’s not the point.

    The point is: I have RC Car Guy.

    RC Car Guy resembles a child, but he is at least 25 years old. And plays with a high-powered RC car EVERY NIGHT between about 8 and 9:30.

    Why this time? I don’t know. He is home all day as far as I can tell. How can an RC car remain interesting when you’re playing with it EVERY DAY? I don’t know. What I do know: Palani is currently in the process of looking for an RC remote that can control the guy’s car. We are going to commandeer that fucking thing and drive it under a moving bus.

    (I’m not 100% sure, but RC Car Guy may also be the guy that was at the MGM liquor store yesterday in a pair of special edition and/or commemorative Barack Obama high-top Nikes, complete with waving flag graphic and a photo of our fine president’s smiling face on the ankle. This, to me, is a better indicator of the downfall of western civilization and its precise modus operandi than anything I have yet to encounter.)

    Anyway.

    RC Car Guy was the fireworks offender last night. He was not letting them off particularly late, but as I stood glowering, peering through the window in our front door, I noted that his audience consisted of himself, his aging mother & father, and my next door neighbors, retirees themselves. His stockpile of fairly large and loud pyrotechnics appeared large enough to blow up a decent-sized garage.

    To be clear: I don’t mind watching a firework or two. I like to wave a sparkler around. But let’s face it: You can only see so many driveway/DIY fireworks displays in your life before you’ve seen them all. I got my fill by the time I was about 20, I’d say.

    At what point is it no longer okay or is there something actually WRONG with you when you can enjoy an hour-long, glorified roman candle demonstration with NOT A SINGLE CHILD IN SIGHT? Before you quit considering a $300 pile of gunpowder money well-spent?

    How can that possibly be interesting to them? I don’t understand. It has to be some kind of retardation. Like, literally, a delay or arrest in the maturity of that whole family’s entertainment preferences.

    Never mind that they ate their dinner at a card table in the driveway. But bothered to decorated it lavishly with a table cloth, centerpiece, red, white, & blue coordinated table settings, even napkin holders…I don’t. fucking. understand.

    • Michelle C says:

      I just think it’s the epitome of the decline, with respect to the utter and complete lack of respect for others that seems to have become the norm. Actually, this was demonstrated more by the party pricks with their live band oompa music thumping throughout the neighborhood until the cops made their 3rd or 4th visit to make them stop.

      Some kind of retardation… my thoughts exactly.

      But yeah, there are also just plain oblivious fuckwits who don’t give a shit.

      My SIL had a rc car guy by her last house, right after she had her 2nd baby. Her son was colicky, and her rc guy always played with that thing whenever the baby had just got to sleep, and he’d be right outside the window. I forget how she got him to stop, but I know she was nearly homicidal, and I’m sure there was yelling. Then they were lucky enough to be able to move somewhere else.

      I gotta ask, what did yours have for dinner??

      I really hope you guys are able to commandeer the fucking thing, that would be awesome.

      • Becky Palapala says:

        Well, sadly, I suspect (and pop culture over time seems to reflect) that rude neighbors are simply a fact of life–a great American constant, like taxes.

        But you don’t see footage of anyone running around with Lyndon Johnson on their Hush Puppies in 1968.

        • Michelle C says:

          lol true.

          omg, when I was a kid the crossing guard lady told me hush puppies were made from real puppies. I was hysterical and sobbing about it. Stupid me, but what a bitch.

    • Tawni Freeland says:

      I actually have nothing against Budweiser. I personally can’t drink it because it gives me a nearly instant, violent headache. A beer vendor once explained to me that it is processed differently from other beers and does that to some people. Isn’t that weird? I was mostly just being bitchy because I’m tired and grumpy and nervous and jumpy, and I know it’s the beer my neighbors drink the most because they leave the empty cans lying all over the street, so it was the first one that came to mind as I ranted. Poor Budweiser. It’s not your fault, you innocent bystander of the beverage world.

      Oh good gravy, Becky. RC Car Guy sounds like an enigma wrapped in a mystery wrapped in a clusterfuck of arrested development. Based on your FB descriptions, I actually told my husband all about RC Car Guy yesterday. We both shook our heads in amazement. He’s bothering me enough on your behalf that I’m talking about him as David and I sit on the couch watching recorded shows together (but probably not as much as he’s bothering you).

      If Palani gets his hands on an RC remote to pirate the guy’s vehicular representation of his desire to race away from mom and dad’s basement forever, please, oh, please film it. You must film it. With a close up of his confused face when you take away the little bit of control over his life onto which he so tenuously grasps.

      The people in my neighborhood showed amazing restraint and only blew things up from noon through midnight yesterday. Only 12 hours of explosions. Better than last year, when they went longer, at least. See? Bright side. Half full. Partly sunny. I’m a fucking optimist over here.

      No card tables were set up in driveways, however. Holy crap, that’s weird! (:

      • Becky Palapala says:

        the guy’s vehicular representation of his desire to race away from mom and dad’s basement forever

        YES!!!

        This must be it.

        Yeah. I REALLY don’t understand about the card table. Like, even if the yard was too bumpy for your table, wouldn’t you take the cars out of the driveway and put the table back closer to the garage, at least NEXT to the yard? Perhaps under a nice awning or tent? Use the garage as a little makeshift bbq hut? This is not unheard of at all.

        But no. They had it behind their two cars. So the table was, like, starting to be on the downslope towards the road. And they sat there and ate in the blazing sun. :-/

  15. Yvonne says:

    I thought about you last night. As I assisted in sweeping up the remains of my brother-in-law’s totally obnoxious display of fireworks, that ended at a respectable 11pm-ish, I thought, “Man, I wish Tawni could see me now. She’d be so proud!!”

    Seriously, what’s with people and their absolute douchiness? As I walked down the street to my car, I saw where other neighbs had left all of their disgusting mess, bags and all, out on the sidewalk (I’m assuming to pick up in the morning?), I thought, HOW TRASHY! T-Money would NOT be pleased!! If you take the time to gather it all in pretty much the same place, as it appeared they half-attempted to do, what’s another two minutes to PICK THE SHIT UP!? I’m so proud of people. (Cue up the Lee Greenwood ….)

    • Tawni Freeland says:

      Oh, what I would give for a respectable 11 p.m. ending and some clean-up in this neighborhood. You good kid, Yvonne. You good kid. (:

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting, lovely lady. xoxoxoxo.

  16. […] the recent short essay by Tawni Freeland, “Let the Eagle Sour, Er, Soar” (and an excellent one, at that) concerning the employment of fireworks by the local […]

  17. As usual, another great post by Tawni!
    Thanks for this!

  18. Joe Daly says:

    Here in SD, there is an annual invasion of party-minded people who infect the beaches on the 4th of July, zipping into the primo parking spots by 7 a.m. They get boozed up (although booze on beaches is now illegal- $40 fine plus 5 hours mandatory highway cleanup the next day), sunburned, loud and messy and then they weave home. Some leave for the airport the next day and others drive back to Arizona, L.A., or the Inland Empire. The locals wait for them to leave and then we go back to the beach.

    But here’s the dealio, which I think is very cool- the day after, the locals get together in teams and they volunteer for beach cleanup duty, spending the day removing all waste and evidence of the prior day’s thuggery. It’s not the best way to spend a day, but I love the vibe.

    Rock on, Tawni!

    • Tawni Freeland says:

      Wow. Awesome. That is really inspiring, Joe, that the SD natives so kindly clean up after the out-of-town dummies who trash the place and leave. I love the vibe you describe too. I like the positive attitude of your locals – just dealing with the bad stuff in an accepting manner, rather than getting pissed off and trying to make laws that will never be enforced. (For example: It is supposed to be a $500 fine for shooting off fireworks on any day besides the 3rd or 4th, past 11 p.m., or without a permit here, yet it’s never enforced.)

      There’s a saying at my son’s preschool they share with the kids occasionally when they get mad over petty things that I sometimes whisper to myself in my own head: “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.” That saying can apply to so many moments in life, yes? I found myself saying this last night, July 5th, at 11:15 p.m. when my neighbors started shooting off the fireworks they had leftover from the two days they were legally allowed to do so. And then they woke up my exhausted five-year-old for the third night in a row, so I called the cops, but you know. You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit. Repeating that phrase definitely helps me stay zen about things sometimes. Haha.

      Thanks for sharing cool thoughts. Rock on, Joe! (:

  19. On her spoken-word album, The Ugly One with the Jewels, Laurie Anderson tells a similarly wonderful story to yours about how she went to Israel on tour and ended off firing off small bombs in a testing lot with a military man, and being torn by the fact that she was “having a great time”. I can highly recommend finding it and giving it a listen…

    • Tawni Freeland says:

      Oooooh. Good spoken-word album recommendation. I will check it out. Sounds like it might involve some highly fascinating cognitive dissonance to listen to during my evening headphones walk.

      Thank you so much for the read and comment, Amanda.

  20. Sadly, I’ve noticed that ‘mericans abroad tend to be a bit more… ‘merican than the ones at home. Your description of your neighbours fits well with all the young ‘mericans I’ve met and lived with in Korea, China, Japan, Vietnam… all over the place… and not really with the Americans I met in the United States. People were fairly decent and civilised around me when I visited (except in Cleveland). But your July 4th descriptions fit quite well with the everyday behaviour of these escaped fratboy lunatics clutching passports and bottles of soju while they chase $5 hookers. It’s probably those assholes (along with George W. and big business) that’s why people all around the world can’t see the decent side of America.

    But then again, I’ve celebrated a few 4th Julys with American expats and they actually behave themselves. They’re out to set a good example on this one day of the year (well, also Thanksgiving and Christmas).

    • Tawni Freeland says:

      Oy. I’m so sorry you’ve had to deal with the escaped fratboy lunatic-types of ‘mericans abroad. I know it’s just a fact of life that some people are going to behave poorly, but man, it really burns me up when we’re represented by idiots. There are too many people here who don’t seem to understand the meaning of the word “pride,” and I get so tired of watching it twisted and turned into something ethnocentric and ugly. Unfortunately, the squeaky wheel’s always gonna get the grease, but it’s embarrassing to have so many squeaky wheels loudly spinning around the world (and here in America), representing my country in a bad way. I hate that when traveling abroad, I’ve been told that I should try to hide the fact that I’m an American because we are so disliked. It’s unfair that the many nice people who live here have to feel global shame because of the jerks.

      Thanks so much for the great, thoughtful comment, David. xoxo.

  21. Shelley Hall says:

    Tawni, another excellent post!

    I’m not German, but I want to yell “FEUERWERK!” next year. (:

  22. pixy says:

    this is my favorite post that you didn’t write.

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