Even a last-minute checklist can help you have a great 4th of July
You wouldn’t think that a lot of folks would want to hear about rules and regulations when it’s time to have fun, would you? Well, these days you probably would, and back in the day you would as well. Just because some folks don’t want to deal with the structure that goes into enjoying a holiday doesn’t mean that it needs to be ignored. But instead of sounding cynical and fully ready to ruin the fun of the day, let’s just say this: having a checklist for the 4th of July can reduce your stress levels immensely. It’s easy to think that not everything will go to plan and that you might have to adapt during the day. But at the very least, have a loose plan and checklist set in place that will serve as a guideline for the day. This helps more than you might think.
On top of that, a checklist is more or less a way to make certain that you’re not forgetting anything and have managed to stock the coolers, box up the fireworks, and put cranky old Aunt Edna on the roof of the car…okay, nix that last one. But in all seriousness, a checklist for the 4th can be a great idea since it does help to keep your stuff in line when you’re trying to do a few things at once and aren’t certain if you did manage to pack everything away in the right spot. Heaven forbid you to put your Roman candles in the cooler and your cold cuts in the fireworks box. Being able to confidently say that you’ve got everything taken care of is a nice feeling, isn’t it?
Let’s take a look at a few of the things that should be on your overall 4th of July checklist.
The food, of course.
I mean seriously, duh. The food is one of the biggest components of a happy and fulfilling 4th of July since without this you’re just going to the park, the beach, or wherever to shoot off a bunch of money disguised as black powder that will turn into colorful explosions that last for a matter of seconds. Wow, that was bleak. But with a cooler full of food and drinks, you can make the afternoon last into the evening and even into the night so that you’re full and content by the time the fireworks begin. Seriously, it’s usually better to watch the show with a full belly and a warm glow that comes from a few adult beverages (adults only) or a stomach that’s full of good food that can keep you satisfied. The thing about this is that you’ll need to make this an important part of your checklist to satisfy about a week before the event, since a lot of stores start running out of certain items rather quickly, especially nowadays.
Where are you going?
This is another item on your checklist that you’ll hopefully feel the need to lock down well before the list hits your hands or is completed since this is one of the busiest and most crowded holidays of the year. It’s a time to party and have fun, so of course, a lot of people are going to start planning about a year in advance if they can. Hell, I can remember working at restaurants that would have tables reserved for months in advance, and depending on what type of show was being put on, some folks will have their site locked down well in advance just to make certain that no one has a chance to yank it away from them. Those of us that watch the fireworks from rooftops, from the streets, and from anywhere else we can see them, don’t really worry about overcrowding so long as we get to see the show. But yeah, if you want a prime spot for the festivities and fireworks, you’ll need to plan ahead.
Do you have your fireworks?
Amazingly enough, fireworks stands are usually in business for a few days to a week or more after the 4th, since there’s typically a lot of inventory to get rid of, and people might want to stock up for next year, or later. But the fun part of these is that a person can usually find a few places to purchase fireworks, and while a lot of stands will have the same kind of stuff that’s legal in one state and not another, some locations are a little less than savory to buy really powerful fireworks. I’m not about to advocate this as a way to celebrate, but the fact is that many people do tend to do this to get more bang for their buck. My advice is this if you’re going to visit the shady spots to get your fireworks, find a spot off the beaten path to set them off since otherwise, you’re risking a lot of trouble. Otherwise, hit the stands, pray your wallet can survive it and have some fun!
Be safe, always be safe.
It’s a great meme and it carries a little more truth than some folks might want to admit, but the harping and the nagging and the badgering are done for a reason when it comes to fireworks. These are creations that can separate fingers from a hand and do some seriously gnarly damage to your body. I won’t go into the gory details, but every year there are at least a few people out there that want to learn this lesson the hard way for reasons that a lot of people don’t fully comprehend, probably because they’re so insanely stupid. Being safe has to do with more than just fireworks on the 4th of July though, it has to do with not overdrinking, not driving drunk, and simply keeping yourself and your loved ones close and unharmed. This is a day to have fun and to celebrate the birth of our nation, not the demise of someone who wasn’t thinking straight when they were leaning over a lit firework or were too intoxicated to know what they were doing. Be safe when you’re out on the 4th, people around you would like to see you again on the 5th and every day after.
Show some respect for others on the 4th.
This can cover a broad range of activities and ideas and it’s not necessarily bound to make it onto your checklist since it’s an unwritten and unspoken rule to simply treat people with respect. One way to do this is to say thank you to our veterans who have served and to those people who are still serving since this is an American holiday, and our American soldiers are still out there making certain that our country doesn’t fully dissolve around us. But there’s also the need to be respectful of others when it comes to lighting fireworks as well. This is bound to be a little more difficult for a lot of people who want to light their boom-booms since there are those out there who suffer from PTSD, either from their service to this country or from something else, and it’s necessary to be respectful to them when lighting off one big boomer or another. Pets are also to be respected around this time since many of our furry friends are a bit sensitive when it comes to this holiday and the noise it brings. I’m not about to say “don’t have fun, it’s rude to people who can’t take the noise”, and I would hope that those who suffer from PTSD or a similar condition would find a way to keep themselves safe and comfortable during this time. All I will say is this: be respectful when you can as you enjoy your 4th.
You bring it in, you take it out.
Now if there’s anything that pisses me off when it comes to this holiday, finding piles of garbage strewn all over the place would be the number two thing on my list. If there’s anything on your checklist that needs to be addressed, it’s this: YOU BRING IT IN, YOU HAUL IT OUT. I’ll admit, the number one thing that gets under my skin when it comes to the 4th would be the self-entitled individuals that travel to one location or another and leave their junk behind when the fireworks are done and over with. It’s even more amazing and irritating that some folks will do this right outside their home after setting fireworks off in the street. But having come from a coastal town, where scores of tourists would use the beachfront for everything from lighting fireworks to making bonfires to forgetting that there is such a thing as a tide that comes in and goes out (tow trucks love this time of year). But the worst thing that tourists do, or at least one of them, is by acting as though the beach is their personal garbage pit when they leave their junk behind. One thing I would implore anyone to do, no matter where you go or how long you spend there, invest in some garbage bags and be ready to cart them out with you when you leave. Costco and many other stores sell bags in bulk, and they take up little to no room until they’re filled. If there’s a problem with the amount of garbage you have to haul out, then bring less stuff. You’re allowed to have fun wherever you go, it’s encouraged and it’s a natural part of the 4th of July. But do everyone a favor and don’t leave the memory of your good time behind for someone else to pick up. Be courteous and pack your garbage out.
WTR? (Why’s That Radass?)
You want to have a good and memorable 4th of July, I get it. You want to make sure you have everything, and you want to worry about less. Make yourself a mental and physical checklist and start ticking off those boxes and you’ll feel a lot better. From all of us at Radass, have a great 4th of July.