More on the Fourth, on the Fifth
Why do I always forget the major point I want to make? Guess it was so hot yesterday that when I finally got ’round to scribbling one out, it totally went out the window. So the big deal about the Fourth of July, for me, is that when I was a little kid, I was mortally afraid of fireworks. Whenever my parents would get me and my blankie and a fresh bottle for ol’ dad into our massive bulbous Buick to go watch the fireworks across from the football stadium where they’d shoot ’em off, at the first Kaboom! I would completely flip my cookies, start screaming and yelling and crying and demand that mom and dad take me home now!
Loud motorcycles would have the same effect. I remember throwing myself onto the ground with my arms wrapped around my head, which felt like someone had run a blazing poker into my ear to the center of my brain, just from the sound of a neighbor’s motorbike. For years I’d felt like a big pussy because I’d reacted like that, but later on I learned that the freaking out to loud sounds, along with memorizing the names, addresses, the year, make and model of every car in the driveway, plus number of kids in the families who lived there and their ages and what schools they went to, over like at least a one-square-mile area in my subdivision, and could recite that meaningless info on demand from adults at the neighborhood swimming pool, meant something else entirely.
I guess I’ve gotten better over the years. I still feel like a total misfit half the time, and there are days when I feel like everyone else is thinking and speaking English and the stuff in my head is more aligned with the birds in the trees and never the twain shall meet, but I’d like to think that nearly four years of daily Buddhist meditation have corrected a lot of my lack of social synchronization.
Then again, sometimes I think I’ve just gotten more quiet, and have nothing worthwhile to say. —Jackson Griffith