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The “Fuck You” Fourth of July

Dear Phil,

I’ve about had it with the Fourth of July. It’s a complaint I imagine millions making. The fireworks and the hassle surrounding the fireworks and the simple stress of family was enough to make me want to find a rope and a rafter; or just walk away from all of them altogether, find someone new to have sex with, and go to sleep and die of poison gas in a hot spring.

I mean, why can’t everyone just grab a sandwich and go outside? It’d be nice. But it has to be such a production. This alleged holiday has nothing to do with Declaration, Constitution, or the history of the United States. I feel neither good nor bad about that. Things change. Traditions become meaningful to themselves rather than the things that started them.

The consumer nature of the holiday puts me under stress. Buy food. Buy flags. Buy fireworks. Buy, buy buy.

So what? Isn’t that all of every holiday in America?

Sure. But goddammit if I don’t want to get out from underneath that and escape into a hole with the snakes and groundhogs hiding from the explosions—and the explosive atmosphere that has to be in more homes than my own.

Everybody wants something. Everyone wants a piece of you. No one can fucking contribute. They all want things their way and they want you to give that to them.

Yesterday started with television. It’s on all the time anyway, driving me absolutely bonkers, taking up space in the air, in my head, and in my living room. And, like every other day, people bitched at each other about what was on or not on television and who had the right—the fucking goddamn right, as if this weren’t Bhutan already—to determine the boring, mind-numbing crap on the television.

Then, after about 200 hours of that, the day moved to buying and buying and buying, then over-preparing way too much food for the grill (with the television on), and trying to sit outside and listen to all of them bitch about bugs, wasps, and mosquitoes. It’s corporate paradise around here, the way we consume food, advertisements, and bug repellent.

There’s the wife who walked around in delirium from sleeplessness because she won’t come home from the night shift and go to bed. She has to stay up, pissing about this, directing that, bitching this way and that. She falls asleep, literally, standing up. She starts talking to us as if we were other nurses at the hospital, about patients and what not. She goes here and there in speech, thought, and in the house. It’s so stressful, if only because I can’t do anything right and she wants to fight about what I’ve told the kid and what I haven’t.

The kid pestered and badgered about fireworks all fucking day. That didn’t help. The television and the fireworks. I was ready to set the fuckers off in the house and watch the end of my problems happen before my eyes.

Gripes and more gripes. I don’t do enough, probably, to let it out slowly and evenly. Like all else, I let these things build up until I’m ready to blow. Then, when I do act to reduce the tension that I feel in my chest, I come on too strongly, create a defensiveness in those around me, and ultimately repel and make them angry and derisive of me. I want to tell them about how these things are working to drive me into the mental hospital again, and what I get are three fingers pointed back—not my own—along with all the derisiveness of people stung by the wasps I told them not to worry about.

I realize I’m rarely so negative. Sure, often melancholy and maybe even morose. But this kind of anger is something that doesn’t go away with time. It’s more a problem I want to deal with by leaving these people behind, moving to a new city in a new country, and finding a round of new lovers to balm my wounds and soothe my ruffled nerves. Can fucking make people feel better? I wouldn’t know. It’s been a long time since my days of promiscuity. But in these moments I sure would like to find out.

Hurt? You bet. Want to end the pain? Sure. What will I do about it? Unless you have a better idea, I’m going to sit here and be miserable. I’ll sneak a fat cigar from time to time. I’ll eat too much tobacco and ice cream. I’ll disappear into the basement like my father and grandfather.

Or, maybe, someday, I might just find the nerve to shirk my responsibilities and walk away.

Thanks for reading. I look forward to your advice. It always makes so much sense and helps so much.

Patrick

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