Last Fourth of July a friend of mine (we’ll call him “Crazy Beard Guy”) introduced me to the world of exploding stuff. We were having a gathering at our home and he suggested we all pool our funds to purchase some fireworks for entertainment for the kids after dark. It seemed ill-advised to have a party on the Fourth and not have fireworks, so I agreed with “Crazy Beard Guy.”
The show was haphazardly planned so we had a huge pile of random fireworks ranging from simple bottle rockets to the window-shaking big boomers. Not only did we have a hodge-podge selection of fireworks, we also had no plan for shooting them off, except for not blowing ourselves up (which almost came to pass on a couple of occasions).
In fact, another friend who helped launch the rockets, who we’ll call the “Cursing Pastor,” at one point had to dive for cover to ensure his safety. This lack of planning resulted in us shooting off all the fireworks over the course of half an hour, with none reserved for the grand finale. So when we were done with the show, nobody knew it except for us ... kind of awkward. What self-respecting Fourth of July party thrower has a fireworks show with no grand finale?
While those watching the show were entertained, they left disappointed, feeling the show had no closure. However, for those of us in the field lighting these magical items that shot into the air and exploded in dazzling colors, this was a life-transforming experience ... we were addicted. And so the planning for next year began.
Fortunately, New Year’s Eve provided an opportunity to blow more stuff up and get a little more organized for next summer’s performance. So me and “Crazy Beard Guy” went and visited one of our local fireworks vendors where we met a contact of another buddy, who we’ll call the “Guy Who Has All the Contacts,” for a lesson in how to plan a fireworks show. We’ll just say that this contact gave us the Cliff Notes on a Ph.D. course in fireworks show planning.
Since it was New Year’s Eve, we had a limited budget, but were able to purchase ample explosive power to entertain children and adults alike. The real difference wasn’t in the amount of fireworks, but the planning.
Just to give you a taste of our grand finale, we lit a “Fast and Furious,” then after four seconds we followed it with two “Artillery Shells,” then six seconds later we followed it with a “Bone Breaker” and a “Shaolin Warrior,” ending the show with a “Rain of Terror” mixed with four more “Artillery Shells.” I can’t properly describe what this looked like other than to say ... it was awesome!
Nonetheless, I have developed a new hobby (and addiction) thanks to “Crazy Beard Guy,” the “Cursing Pastor” and the “Guy Who Has All the Contacts” — blowing stuff up on holidays! God, I love living in the South!
(Editor’s Note: Matt has a family of five — a beautiful wife, a son, a daughter and of course, Tucker the dog. He now plans to have an EPIC fireworks show this coming July. Matt’s column appears every Wednesday in the Cleveland Daily Banner.)