4th of July is one of those interesting birds. We blow things up. We eat anything grilled. We sit curbside in our bag chairs made of patriotic fabric to watch fire engines and tractors and clowns that throw candy. Some might question the tie-in to independence, but the way I figure it our founding fathers were probably typical boys just like the ones we are all married to now. And what boy doesn’t like setting things on fire, over-eating, and loud, expensive vehicles? I bet even in the days of Yore, Franklin would say, “Did thou see my ox-kicking ride out there?” And what do you want to bet that Hancock was a big fan of a large sausage in a bun? Perhaps Jefferson even said, “Meet the Cannon Martha 45. Can you believe the smoke she puts out? Worse than when I forget to bring in wood for the wife’s fire place!” See, I guess it’s apropos. It’s that whole “boys will be boys” thing.

The best part about 4th of July is that it has a gender-neutral-likability factor. Who doesn’t like a parade and an excuse to have a day off work and a reason to hang out with friends or family? Sure, the guys are probably a little more excited about playing with fire and making loud noises beyond squealing out of the in-laws’ driveway after 3 hours of family bonding, but women get to watch the pretty colors in the sky as their men show off their pyro tectonics. Now, that may have sounded a little chauvinistic, but I don’t know about you but there’s no need to get too close when my hubs has a lighter!  Yet, it isn’t just about fireworks. Everybody likes to eat! In fact, some women (unlike me) can actually shove their husbands outside with a beer, some tongs, and a large amount of meat which means no mess in the kitchen and no dishes to do. No slaving over a turkey or making mashed potatoes and ain’t nothing wrong with throwing a hot dog on a paper plate and calling it good. And you get to wolf down hamburgers, corn-on-the-cob, that American flag Cool Whip cake, snow cones, cotton candy, bomb pops, and an American-brewed beer. How is that not a victory for everyone???

Being an American on 4th of July weekend rocks! Not only do we get to live in the land of the free and the home of the brave, but we get to celebrate a holiday where tank tops and flip-flops are completely expected and acceptable? To make it even easier, if it’s red, white, blue or some combination of such, you’re golden (ha ha). This holiday may not have presents, but it does involve a lot of lily-white, fat-bellied bearded men. Of course, we all know tan fat looks better than white fat so hopefully, they slap on some sunscreen and rectify the situation! Thank goodness for summer. No one questions your back fat, your lack of Prada, or your fashion statement John McEnroe headband. Slap some Harlem Globetrotter shorts on and people consider you an All-American, not a giant dork with manpris (my theory on men’s shorts the length of female capris). Add an Uncle Sam/Cat in the Hat Hat and you’re off to the races. If by races, you mean frog-leaping contests, little kid tractor pulls, or egg on a spoon Olympics.

Here in the Midwest, we’re all about the knee-high by the 4th of July, the American flag flying in the gusting 45 mph winds, and saluting an American soldier, especially if he’s in full uniform when it’s 100 effing degrees outside. So kick back in your lawn chair with your beer or Bartles and James wine cooler circa 1988 and get ready to say, “Ooo” and “Ahh!” as the tissue-papered watermelon float goes by and the missile attack artillery fires. Those are the best declarations in town. So crank up your Springsteen and be glad you were born in the USA!