The 4th of July in October. That’s when I celebrate the most patriotic of holidays. It’s been that way since 1997, when I spent July 4th on the mall of our nation’s capital, surrounded by 4.2 million people, all smelling like stale beer and heat exhaustion. Initially, my anger was directed at the Founding Fathers of our Country for failing to wait until fall to declare their independence. In all seriousness, would waiting a few months have made much of a difference in declaring war against the redcoats? They were British. We were going to win, regardless of when we battled. It wasn’t George and Ben’s or Tom’s fault, though. The blame was my own for simply going with the flow of over 200 years of “tradition.” Not anymore, though.
Celebrating the 4th of July in October will take some adjustment. For one thing, there won’t be a magnificent fireworks display overhead on the October evening that you choose to celebrate. Who cares, though? Fireworks have been, and always will be, overrated. Does anyone really go to a fireworks display for the fireworks?
On the other hand, the reasons for celebrating the 4th of July in October, are too numerous to name here, so I’ll highlight a few of the major ones.
For one thing, you can play catch with a football or baseball, or throw the Frisbee, without the fear of hitting an unknowing picnic-goer in the face or bowling over a group of unsuspecting children as you dive to make a spectacular catch. Yes, there is a downside to adventures of this kind during October 4th of July celebrations. In all likelihood, you’ll be alone while you celebrate. Based on your solitude, it will be nearly impossible to play catch, unless you are really fast. My suggestion? Bring a boomerang instead of a Frisbee. After all, what’s more American than exercising without really having to move?
The most underrated aspect of a July 4th in October is that the sun sets much earlier in the evenings. Based on this little-known meteorological fact, a person going to see the fireworks in October won’t have to wait as long for nothing to happen.
As the years of this new tradition pile up for you, as they have for me, you’ll realize that it doesn’t matter what passers-by think of you. They’ll walk by your picnic blanket, with their fleece vests, Uggs, and judging eyes. The nicer ones will only look at you with puzzlement. The jerks will verbally mock you and your American flag tank top.
“Look at this dummy,” they’ll say to their friend, with a look of condescension in their eyes. “The 4th of July was three months ago.”
In this case, it’s best to scare them with one of those awkward smiles, before inviting them onto your blanket to watch “the show.”
“You’re crazy,” they’ll say. “Nuts.”
Pat the open area of blanket next to you and watch them run as fast as they can. You’ll have the place to yourself again.
Another often overlooked aspect of July 4th in October is the lack of mosquitoes and ticks. I mean, sure, nothing says “America’s Birthday,” like West Nile virus and Lyme disease. But if you want to eliminate the risk of insect-borne illness, nothing beats a cool October evening for being out of doors. Some argue that being destroyed by angry mosquitoes is a summer rite of passage. If you want your legs looking like a Braille dictionary, then you go right ahead and continue celebrating the 4th of July on July 4th.
I’ll be there on an October evening of my choosing, drinking pumpkin stout and playing boomerang.