DURST: Blowin' Shit Up Real Good

One of the moments that makes you prouder than blueberry punch to be an American is the fourth of July: to char the decaying flesh of other major mammals, drink lots of beer and then handle explosives. "Hey. Is this lit?" Lot of guys named "Lefty" here in the Midwest. And "Patch."Every year the tiny town of Mason City, Illinois do the red white and blue deal so patriotic, Patrick Henry slaps us an imaginary five. First, we ride in the back of a pickup past vast silked out cornfields to Middletown for the express purpose of watching firemen blow shit up real good.The fireworks display begins with an outline of the state of Illinois and a red dot right in the middle, giving this thriving metropolis of 350 its name. There follows lit presentations of a dog peeing on a hydrant, two tanks shooting cannon balls at each other, a fireman putting out an outhouse fire, and an eerie one of a blind armadillo and a sock, which confuses all, including the locals since even sighted armadillos, although greatly admired for their length of tongue, are not known to venture within 1000 miles of this, the geographic center of Illinois.The sky bursts elicit -- much ooohing and aaahing as befits such an occasion. Then we go home in the back of the pickup, drinking more beers and exploding many of our own loud dangerous devices, scaring wildlife and often ourselves. The only casualties expected are the stubbing of many toes from wandering around a one acre back yard in the dark. Although we shall probably offend authorities by being drunk in public and utilizing firecrackers -- not necessarily smiled upon within local zoning codes -- I think of it as Civil Disobedience: the best way to prove our independence.Will Durst thinks Mason City is so all-American, Norman Rockwell would dimiss it as imperialistic propaganda.

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