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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

When Fireworks Were King

Once upon a time, fireworks were the top thing in my life. From about second grade through fourth or fifth, I continuously smuggled a little mail-order fireworks catalog in my bookbag. I studied it every chance I got—on the bus, in class, at home. I wore the thing out. I knew all the names and prices. If I was lucky I would have about 20 bucks to spend by the time June rolled around, and I think I even sent cash in the mail once or twice, but my fireworks came.

Bottle Rockets (this was clearly how I learned how many are in a "gross." Ground Flower. Garden in Spring. Tanks. Bang Snaps. Starball Contribution. Why the hell was it called "contribution"? I wasn't really into fountains, but king of all the fireworks—the ones I could afford—was Friendship Pagoda. I always bought one, as the finale. It was the best.
Sometimes it didn't pop all the way up, so you might have to help it. You might burn your little fingers stretching it out, but when you were done—goddamn, it's a cool little building!

You just had to hope this didn't happen:

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