Life as we blow it: Not having a blast

Fireworks: Not fit for man nor beast.

Bentley hates fireworks.

Yeah, I know a lot of dogs don’t like fireworks — they don’t exactly send our other two into orgasmic seizures of joy, either — but a lot of dogs don’t fling themselves up at a window three feet above them and lock their jaws on the blinds, snarling, back legs scrabbling as they try to force their way through the window to find the fireworks, to masticate the fireworks, to destroy the fireworks.

Bentley fucking hates fireworks.

And Bentley doesn’t care about the reasons why most reasonable people hate fireworks. He doesn’t care about little kids’ fingers (try to swab his eye with medicine, and you’ll find out how much Bentley cares about phalangeal integrity), or atmospheric pollution, or the irony implicit in commemorating wars won through the loss of countless lives by symbolically recreating their mayhem in miniature. Bentley just hates, hates, hates the noise, the sudden application of unwelcome and wholly unnecessary bombast upon his hyperacture senses. He’s a rogue rescue who looked a bit like Rob Zombie’s “Gandalf The Homeless Gray” phase when somebody found him living at large, an amoral, streetwise Nino Brown-level criminal genius, and he’s seen some things — basically, fireworks trigger the canine version of a latent-PTSD freakout in him.

So we sedate him early on holidays like the Fourth, and try to keep the other dogs out of lunging range, and hope for the best.

If I hadn’t hated fireworks before Bentley, I’d hate them now.

Honestly, though, I’ve disliked fireworks for most of my life. As a young, only mildly deranged kid (all male kids are deranged to some degree), fireworks were an excellent way to gauge which other deranged kids were going to be my good friends, based on compatible levels of derangement. Kids that set off fireworks unattended by adults: my edgiest allies. Kids that blew shit up with fireworks: avoid unless suicidally bored or jonesing to experiment with smoking cigarettes. Kids that shot bottle rockets directly at myself and other only mildly deranged kids: flee like hell and allow starring roles in murderous revenge fantasies.

I developed a healthy fear of all ignitables that was eventually (just barely) overcome by curiosity: Why did other people get such a rush from them? I hid my trepidation at a few porch parties, holding lighter to fuse before stepping behind the nearest fellow reveler/human shield and waiting, wincing, to ultimately be disappointed by the whole thing.

Discovering no thrill only deepened my irritation at having to listen to them at all.

And now Bentley is here, yowling and flying around the room at the slightest muffled pop and generally reinforcing my conclusions: that fireworks suck, and what’s more, kids who set off fireworks days before and/or days after any "firework holiday" are not just deranged, but actively evil as well.

(There isn’t a word to describe individuals over the age of 15 who set off fireworks days before and/or days after any "firework holidays," because those individuals defy consideration.)

So I sedate myself early on holidays like the Fourth, and loudly curse the culture, and vehemently suggest that bad things befall the neighbors’ children.

And blame the fact that I’m not having a good time squarely on the goddamn psychotic dog.

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