Showing 11 - 12 of 12 posts found matching keyword: independence day

Another Independence Day come and gone. July 4th is without a doubt my favorite holiday, though I don't care for picnics, fireworks, or parades. Ironic? I don't think so. If others enjoy their crowded public places, I'll stay in my own suddenly quiet neighborhood. Everybody wins.

My brother and his girl were disgusted by my favorite Independence Day activity: watching the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest. Sure, it's gross, but it's much more entertaining than, say, Easter Sunrise Mass or a Christmas Day NBA double-header. (While it's not quite Thanksgiving Day NFL football, the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Competition only takes 10 minutes, barring overtime, and I'm not forced to watch this with the very same extended family that I try to avoid for the rest of the year.) How can you not love a competition that was cancelled by promoters in 1971 to protest "the reign of free love"? And I'm not alone in my appreciation of this grand event: it's estimated that nearly as many people showed up just to watch this year's contest as ran in Atlanta's Peachtree Road Race earlier the same day.

Maybe all of this success is because of the unique nature of the competition as a quintessentially American event complete with hot dogs, gluttony, and red, white, and blue bunting. When asked why he competes annually in this contest, 2007-08 champion Joey Chestnut summed it all up, "I love to eat. I love the competition. And... it's Fourth of July, and you can get away with it on this day, push your body this hard over something silly like this." Damn straight, Joey. It sure beats running a 10K.

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There's a brief bit of dialogue in the movie Clerks that goes something like this:

Dante: You hate people!
Randal: But I love gatherings. Isn't it ironic?

I feel that way about the Independence Day holiday. It's my favorite holiday of the year but I hate parades and fireworks. What I love is watching people gather to watch parades and fireworks. (Of course, I hate to actually be in the gathering crowds. I prefer strictly hands-off voyeurism, exactly the sort of thing for which cars, tall buildings, and television sets were made.) I'm reminded of the stories of the crowds of sightseers that gathered to watch the first battle of Manassas. Apparently, people will gather anywhere at the prospect of witnessing goose stepping and explosions.

On a related note, I've always wondered why we celebrate Independence Day on July 4. The Continental Congress approved independence from Britain on July 2 (it was this date that John Adams expected to be the one eternally celebrated), and the document itself wasn't actually signed until a month later. What we celebrate on July 4 is merely the voted approval of the document itself. Wouldn't that be a bit like deciding to remember Pearl Harbor Day on December 8, the day that the U.S. declared war with Japan, instead of on December 7, the day of the actual attack?

But never mind me. I got my panties in a bind when we celebrated the "new millennium" on New Year's Eve in 1999. (I "celebrated" with dinner in a now-defunct Shoney's Restaurant. Alas, poor Big Boy.)

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To be continued...