Over twenty years ago, I remember being a part of a multi-day alcohol fueled bender for the 4th of July. I was lucky enough to not work and be in town. But I remember a few lame 4th holidays.
One of those happened back in 2001, while I was on deployment. We had pulled into Ecuador, which ended up one of those places that we always ended up going to. That port that I will leave unnamed is a great place to get food stores and fuel, but not my idea of excitement.
That 4th of July was no different. It is one thing that I had a low expectation of that hollday. Yes, I only knew one person that was an American in that area or at least I met that guy one of the few days I pulled in. I didn’t expect anyone to roll out the fireworks or bunting, or whatever lame shit people do these days. But after a few beers I learned something.
The 4th of July could be like any other day. I found something to eat. I had a few beers. I went back to the ship and slept. I might have had some mail. It was lame. But it harkened me back to just a year before.
I was in Navy boot camp for July 4th 2000. My first few weeks were monotonous loops of idiocy. It was meals coupled with medical appointments. It was entitled government employees yelling at scared sleepless zombies sporting terrible haircuts. (I have never seen someone that was a victim of a concentration camp but if I had to give it a descriptor, the people around me were the closest thing).
We survived a few people disappearing for medical reasons or failed drug tests (RIP Hercules). We were allowed to start “training”. It wasn’t a few weeks later that we hit the 4th of July holiday. I knew that we weren’t slated to work or train. I also knew that a nearby command had fireworks and entertainment scheduled.
My lead instructor had promised fireworks for us. I wasn’t sure how that would be possible but I was hoping that we could be marched toward the festivities. The reality sunk in on the morning of the 4th. Our lead instructor turned on his office light and taped a snippet of a newspaper article on the glass window. I stepped forward to inspect it.
As I was studying the newspaper printed picture of a fireworks show, my instructor flips the light on and off a few times. What came next I won’t forget, he runs around the corner and yells:
HAPPY 4TH OF JULY, BITCHES!!! HERE ARE YOUR FIREWORKS!!!!!!
My lead instructor was one of the funniest people of authority I ever met. But his temporary humor could not salvage the fact that we ended up sitting around doing nothing, then eating terrible galley food.
It was one of the most boring 4th of July days I ever experienced.
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