Battlefield Barrage

Posted on July 2, 2010

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Extra Bonus Free! Sale on Entire Inventory! No limits on quantity! The Pandemonium Fireworks flyer came screaming though our mail slot. Surely this was insult added to injury.

They knew about my feelings of being under siege every 4th of July weekend in Lynn. They heard me shout “Yes!” as I pumped my fist when a truck full of fireworks was seized in Lynn a full month before the mayhem was to begin. Like the Grinch who Stole Christmas I was ecstatic. This was going to put a dent in everyone’s annual recreation of the battle of Fort Sumter.

Yes, we love our fireworks in Lynn. Some of us do. Myself, I cringe in fear of a bottle rocket landing on my house and burning it down to the ground.

This flyer can’t be legal was my first thought. It would cause otherwise sensible people to flock to the Live Free or Die state and carry an illegal substance across state lines! I called the state Fire Marshal. “We get asked that question every year,” they said. “It’s not illegal. That’s free speech you’re holding in your hand.”

For a moment I thought of joining the chaos. Such freedom of choice was embodied by the flyer. If the Mystical Knight assortment with its Cuckoo Fountain and Yellow Jackets weren’t good enough for me, I could purchase the Iwo Jima assortment complete with Large Golden Flowers, Large Happy Planets, Battlefield Barrage and Pursuit of Happiness Fountains. Maybe they’d throw in a few Bloody Entrails, a Look Ma, No Legs and a Nuclear Nightmare for good measure. Hallelujia, it’s raining fire!

The nonstop volley of Skeeters and Loco-Locusts Candles (I detect a theme of annoying summer insects) on the weekend of the 4th hinted to me of what it must be like to live in a war zone. Of course, my chances of being ground meat were a lot less, but I could see how the constant loud bursts of noise ruined one’s quality of life.

Most police will tell you that it’s no picnic working on the 4th of July. They’d rather vote for Deval Patrick. (Well, maybe I’m going overboard) The volume of calls to the police on the 4th must be overwhelming. I would be flinching with fear, wondering whether the sound that just came from behind that lovely 3 story fire hazard was a Blitzkreig Bonanza or a gunshot.

But the police take it all with a grain of saltpeter. Three years ago, the Ward 3 Neighborhood Association went on a sort of field trip to the new police station to hear officers from Narcotics, Vice and the Gang Unit talk about their work. At the end of one of the talks I raised my hand and asked what could be done about the lawless frontier that is Lynn on the 4th of July. “I mean, I’ve never seen anything like this in any other city, not in Quincy, or anywhere else I’ve lived.”

“I guess the people of Lynn are just more patriotic,” the officer shrugged. Eruption of Laughter. I guess I walked right into it, an opening bigger than the blast radius of a Sunrise over Normandy.

I wouldn’t mind it so much if we didn’t have dogs, 2 pugs and a greyhound. If my anxiety around loud booms is an 8, theirs is an 11. I sincerely wish we could just pack up and leave every 4th of July. We’d come back when the dust settled.

Dogs don’t put their feelings into words. They look up at you with their mute expressions of need or anticipation, forcing you to feed, touch and play with them. When a dog is fearful or anxious, their reactions can range from panting, scratching and shaking to biting, running and hiding.

Zuzu sees a dog out the window across the street and imprints herself on the screen. The 4th of July really brings out her craziness. She bounces off walls, barking, howling, beside herself with terror. Alert! Alert! Something bad is going to happen! I will protect you! There it is over there! No! It’s over there! No! We’re surrounded! 4th of July evening and all that leads up to it and trails off is a nonstop bark and dash from one corner of the room to the other.

Two years ago, we tried drugs. It’s amazing how we think there’s a magic bullet for everything that could possiblly go wrong with us. So naturally, we think these potions should work on our pets too. Why not? They’re part of the family. In a testament to how we’ve applied our runaway healthcare system to animals, our vet wrote a prescription for a tranquilizer.

It worked a little too well. Zuzu was out like a light, lying peacefully on a pillow on my wife’s lap while we waited for this year’s siege to end. “That had to be a Pyro Pulverizer,” I remarked, proud of my ability to reel off names of explosives. “This pillow’s wet,” said Karin. Zuzu had lost all control of her bladder muscles. Everywhere we put her down that night, the towel on which she lay would become soaked with urine.

This year, behold the Thundershirt! Yes, this would be the answer to our problem. 100% satisfaction guaranteed. THE BEST SOLUTION FOR DOG ANXIETY. Thundershirt’s patent pending design is a velcro fastened pressure wrap that applies constant pressure on a dog’s torso. It almost looks like body armor. “No one knows why pressure works to relieve anxiety…until now there hasn’t been a well designed, inexpensive pressure wrap commonly used for canine anxiety. Thundershirt intends to change that!”

We hoped our little canine trooper would be able to live through the shell shock calmly. She doesn’t mind wearing articles of clothing. She got all excited to wear her Dog Gone Gorgeous Warmie in the winter. We’ll see whether Thundershirt is a match for all the Bin Laden Blockbusters, Ghetto Blasters, Hurt Locker Hangovers, Red White and Booms, Stack Attack Night Planes, Saigon Surprises, Airoticas, Autumn Drizzles, Shoot and Scoots, Pitbull Rampages, Lil’ Miss Firecrackers and 61 Shot Beehives.

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