“You should come out on the boat with us!” the text message read.
My first thought was “I should say I’m busy that day.” It’s not that I dislike the outdoors, but I’m super allergic, I burn easily in the sun, and ever since my great grandfather Lemuel died fighting off the rare ocean sasquatch I fear meeting a watery death myself. But this was to be one of those “Lazy fourth of July lake days.” I’ve never been on a “lazy lake day” but I thought maybe I should be a little more social instead of holding up in my home all day and watching “Yankee Doodle Dandy” on TCM.
As I drove to the dock where the boat was, several thoughts swirled though my mind as I began to weave a dream of terror for the day. “What if something goes wrong? What if I eat uncooked pork and die a puking death? What if I go overboard and this was all an elaborate plan to get rid of me?” and the grandest of these thoughts “How do I feel about my sacrificing my dignity for the safety of wearing Spongebob Squarepants floaties?” Soon, I found myself at the dock, greeting friends, and stepping onto a boat without Spongebob Floaties.
It was a small group of friends, but on the boat it made it seem like a much larger group. The boat was one of those party pontoon boats, the kind you can grill on. As we floated down the river I was thankful it wasn’t too hot, the views were lovely, and the music wasn’t as awful as I had thought it might have been (Music Snob for life!). I sat over on one side of the boat and enjoyed a burger. I kept mostly to myself, chiming in here and there. As the day drifted on, we made a turn and went back in the direction towards the dock.
By the time we made it back to the dock, dusk had come. As the captain tied the boat to the dock, while his buddy went and got his truck with the boat trailer, he gleefully announced “And now time for the fireworks!” Everyone cheered, not I. I was thinking that shooting fireworks off a boat tied to a wooden dock is a bad idea, and I was also thinking of the ethics in filming this and submitting it to America’s Funniest Home Videos–would I have to split the money with them?
Some joy came to me in the form of seeing the fireworks were fairly small sized things and nothing epic. Still, the whole thing just seemed like a bad idea to me. I said I was feeling tired and I would watch it all from my car, with the windows and moonroof open. They said I would miss out on all the fun, but they understood.
Sitting in my car I blasted “Fire” by The Crazy World of Arthur Brown and watched people shoot fireworks off a boat at a lake. It all went fine, better than I thought. That was until a gale of lake wind came out of nowhere and sent a Roman candle into the awning on the boat. The awning caught fire, and everyone yelled and scrambled for fire extinguishers. It looked like a Nascar pit crew leaping into action, four of the friends rushed the boat with extinguishers in hand.
As they went into action blasting the fire away, the captain rushed over to see what damage may have been done. In their adrenaline rush of putting out the fire, two of the people didn’t turn their extinguishers off as they turned to talk to the captain. Blasting him as well, and sending him rushing back and over the side of the boat into the water. All in all, it was a most memorable Fourth of July. See you next week.