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Kablooey: Kids and Fireworks

While in the thick of fireworks season, I’ve been reminded of the rockets and sparklers I used to use as a kid.  Sometimes I made my own homemade fireworks out of shotgun shells and other ammunition, and sometimes I used ones that friends had smuggled from Wyoming to Utah.

Utah used to have pretty strict restrictions in place limiting the use of most types of fireworks. I’m not sure if the restrictions were all that effective, because it seemed like the first chance anybody got to smuggle fireworks across the border from Wyoming, they would do just that.  This usually meant that friends often drove from Wyoming to Utah carrying what could easily be considered a ten year supply of fireworks.

Some of our favorite kinds to set off were bottle rockets. For those who don’t know what bottle rockets are, they’re essentially little firecrackers attached to the end of a stick that shoot off into the air when lit and eventually explode high in the sky. At least, that’s their intended use.

My friends and I enjoyed the bottle rockets because we could have mini-wars with each other.  We would hold onto the stick and light the fuse and aim them at each other. Miraculously, none of us ever got hurt and none of us really understood the dangers of what we were doing. After all, we all believed we were invincible.

As I’ve looked back on how lightly I used fireworks as a kid, it scares me that my daughters may eventually have the same fascination with all things explosive — and the same propensity to misuse them.

My misuse of fireworks got to the point where I figured out how to alter ammunition into fireworks. It was something that other kids my age also learned how to do, which eventually led to one kid in my high school losing his finger in the middle of shop class. He had been fiddling around with a .22 bullet, trying to convert it into a firework, when the bullet exploded prematurely and took off his index finger.

Learning about that experience pretty much ended my curiosity of trying to create my own firecrackers.

Nothing my parents ever told me about handling fireworks with care ever hit home with me.  My friends didn’t take heed to any of those types of discussions from their parents either. Hopefully having daughters will keep me from having the same problems my parents had with me. I don’t know if fireworks are just less interesting to girls — none of my sisters ever cared for fireworks, for example.

So far my fears have been put to rest because Addie is scared of loud noises, including the loud noises from fireworks.  I’m sure, however, there will come a day where I will have to broach the subject of fireworks and hope that my kids are better behaved than I ever was.

Photo Credit: Flickr

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