A lot of fun on the 4th can create a lot of messes.
The 4th of July is all about having a good time and celebrating our country’s independence, right? We get to come together as a nation and enjoy each other’s company and have a few laughs and a night filled with brightly-colored explosions that light up the sky, yeah? That’s all great and it’s a bunch of fun and we enjoy ourselves to the fullest sometimes and don’t tend to worry about tomorrow sometimes. But therein lies the problem. Some folks don’t look past their own pleasurable time when it comes to having fun and it shows on the day after. Well, technically it shows on the night of, right after it happens, but a lot of folks don’t even think to worry about it until the morning after. A lot of people don’t even think of it at all for some reason, as their sense of responsibility fizzles out just as quickly as the fireworks they’ve dropped a small fortune on. Seriously, some folks are that ignorant and selfish. I know, what a shock, right?
Maybe it’s part of my upbringing in a coastal town where fireworks on the 4th were a big thing, or maybe it’s just common decency, but the idea of cleaning up after yourself after a night spent on the beach, or anywhere for that matter, setting off fireworks, it’s a great idea to carry your garbage out with you. This sentiment is echoed by a lot of people that find their towns and local areas trashed after a night of partying and frivolity. It sounds like a bunch of whining to a lot of people who appear to have the mindset that they paid good money to find a spot to light the fireworks that they spent so much money on, but to those that live in the affected areas, it’s a royal pain the ass. Imagine someone walking into your home, partying like there’s no tomorrow, and then leaving without so much as tossing a cup in the garbage can. That’s how it feels to a lot of people who wake up the next day to see the mess that’s left behind.
Of course, the 4th of July is a fun night, it’s a great time to get together and spend some quality time. No one is about to deny anyone the right to have fun and enjoy themselves, since a lot of people want to join in and have a carefree night where they don’t have to worry about that much and can just cut loose. But the one thing that too many people either forget or do their best to ignore is the fact that there’s a price to be paid for the fun that we have, and paying for the pleasure of that fun is only half of it. When you’re visiting someone else’s home you should feel the inherent need to pick up after yourself, no matter how big or small your mess is. I mean c’mon, it’s common courtesy, right?
Let’s discuss this a little more as we look at the ridiculousness below.
Beach folks tend to have some of the hardest times around the 4th of July.
This is one of those ‘been there, done that’ things for myself and many others since every 4th of July it’s almost assured that there’s going to be a pile of powder-burned cardboard every few hundred feet or less on a beachfront where people had a grand old time spending a fair amount of money with each burst. It is fun to make your way out to the beach since there are still plenty of coastal towns that will allow fireworks on the beach since it’s a great effect and it’s a great way to let people have fun during this holiday. But one thing that you can count on is that the beachfront will fill up quickly and people will stake out spots in advance that they’ll keep for the entire day. If it’s allowed, some folks even camp out in their spots for a day or so to make certain that no one takes it. And so the making of a mess begins early.
Imagine if your backyard looked like this after the 4th.
Amazingly enough, a lot of people will laugh this off and state that it’s not their problem. Sadly, some of those people are bound to be those who will pull shit like this and figure that this stuff will wash away, or the locals will take care of it. That attitude should piss a lot of people off, and it usually does, but trying to get the people who do these things to take responsibility is kind of futile since catching them in the act isn’t exactly possible. The beaches and other areas that are taken up during the 4th of July celebrations are often so crowded that one can’t possibly police everyone that’s bound to leave their crap behind, and unless there’s a sign detailing who did it then there’s no way to know. It is expected that people will carry their garbage out with them, but the honor system isn’t what it used to be.
Some folks would wave this off and say that it’s not such a big deal, that the area can be cleaned up and made to look good as new. Others would be callous enough to state that it’s not their problem, that they were paying for the pleasure of being there so the locals should shut up and enjoy the revenue. There is a point when it becomes so much whining, especially if the locals aren’t willing to pick up the mess, which looks horrible and could cause at least some damage to the local ecology if it were left to rot. Granted, the refuse left from one night of fun isn’t typically enough to cause any long-lasting damage. But ask yourself this, what would happen if someone came to your home and left this mess? Would you accept the idea that it’s ‘not their problem’? Probably not.
Clean-up crews on July the 5th are fairly efficient at least.
Really, can you expect any less? There’s no desire to see your home trashed, but leaving it as-is and pawning it off on the next person is something that rude and arrogant tourists do. Note, I didn’t say ALL tourists, since there are plenty of folks who will take the time to gather up their crap and haul it away with them, or at least find a suitable way to dispose of it. The piles and piles of garbage that are found on the 5th, way too often I might add, are a great indication of how people pass off responsibility whenever they can. That sounds pretty cynical, doesn’t it? There’s a pretty good reason for it though since too many people revert to form, meaning that they’ll pass the buck when it comes to cleaning up their mess, no matter that they might complain if someone were to do the same to their neighborhood. I get it, that line is like a broken record that never really stops. But the point of repeating it over and over is to make certain that people don’t forget that crapping on the spots where they vacation isn’t just bad manners, it’s the kind of disrespect that can affect the fun for everyone eventually. Believe it or not, some areas will actually refuse to allow such festivities to continue if this kind of mess continues to be a problem.
The cleanup isn’t the real reason why such festivities would be canceled. It’s the sheer amount of disrespect that people have for their surroundings when they’re having fun that can get a party shut down quick, fast, and in one hell of a hurry.
There is a right way to do things after the 4th.
There are ways to police your own garbage without carrying it out. In all honesty, carting your trash can be a pain in the ass, but it’s important to show that kind of respect to one area or another, especially when it’s the home of others that depend on tourism to survive. The 4th of July sees tourists come in droves and often the money they spend is needed since this is how certain towns and cities thrive during certain parts of the year. But there is a certain amount of respect that is expected when one visits a tourist town, no matter how much they’re paying. it’s the same respect a person would give their own home when making a huge mess. In this manner, it’s usually easy to observe which folks give a damn about their surroundings and which ones don’t, since those who understand what it means to take care of a place following any and all festivities will at least make the effort to clean up and help out those who will be left behind with the final cleanup duties.
In other words, even if it’s a bit too late to scold some folks, it’s a good lesson to leave any place you party in just as you found it. But if hauling out your trash isn’t entirely possible (full garbage bags can take up a lot of room) it’s still important to pick up your garbage and leave it in one spot so that a cleanup crew doesn’t have to pick up pieces all over the area. This is the bare minimum that anyone can do, and it’s greatly appreciated since it makes the process a lot easier. Tourist towns expect the tourists to have fun, enjoy themselves, and get a little messy at times. It comes with the territory, and generations of individuals who host 4th of July parties and other such events know very well that this is part of the price to be paid. But tourists need to realize that they can help by picking up after themselves. You know, what we should all understand by the time we’re about five years of age.
No one wants to cancel the 4th of July.
It’s very possible to cancel the possibility of the 4th of July celebrations, and the first person to spark a firework in an area where they’ve been outlawed could be the first to find out. That’s a bit of an exaggeration to be certain, but at the same time…it’s not. Some towns and cities have actually grown sick and tired of the stress that comes with hosting such celebrations. It’s not just the mess though, it’s the cost that comes with putting on the show, the cost of cleanup, and several other factors that go into a 4th of July celebration. At some point, it becomes a futile gesture that draws in people but leaves the area decimated in a way that takes a couple of days or more to recover from. The money is appreciated without a doubt, but the treatment of one’s hometown or area is still tough to put up with.
Seriously, have fun, but pick up yourselves. Is it that tough?
WTR? (Why’s That Radass?)
It’s always a good idea to have a party, well, most of the time. But the price of such frivolity is something that many people don’t want to worry about. If you’ve got the time to party, then take the time to clean up your mess. It’s easier to welcome guests who are respectful than it is to put up with guests that act like disrespectful children.