We went to a fantastic fireworks display this year, and for once we had great seats. Not only that, but just a couple cars down was a family with several little boys who really made the show for us. When the first round of fireworks went off, I think the gasps and shrieks and look-at-thats lasted longer than the gold sparks drifting through the sky. A few minutes later, after a gigantic blue explosion, one yelled, “Hey, it’s my favorite color!” The highlight came later, though, when there was about a ten-second pause in the show and the entire parking lot was quiet. Over the hush, one screamed, “Get with the fireworks already!” We pretty much died laughing, but they were still going strong. As the finale started to build, we heard one more shout, “Yeah, baby!” Way to end your show, boys.
We talked and laughed and oohed and ahhed. We laughed at the little boys and thought about how different and simple and exciting things were when we were younger. All of us “old” teenagers and twenty-somethings got a little bit nostalgic about being so little. We had a grand time.
Of course, I also did a little bit of people watching. About halfway through the show, I noticed something about the couple sitting on the other side of us. Thing is, they were watching us the same way we were watching those little boys. We were the young people, carelessly enjoying ourselves.
I was recently arguing with someone (actually, I had the same debate with several people) about which Superhero is the best embodiment of the American ideal. Yes, I’m a geek. The debate always seemed to come to a question of when rather than who. At a time in our history, Superman was the American dream realized. Later, Captain America was the perfect poster boy. Now, well, one guy argued it should be Iron Man and I sort of agree. Because America has changed, because America is changing, it’s hard to pin one down. America is not the same country it was, and that can be a little scary. Some things are the same, though. Each generation can look down on the next, seeing the same laughter and hope that they experienced when they were younger and think that, maybe, we’ll be okay.