Somewhere in the primordial id of every American lurks a deranged teenage boy. He likes blowing things up. And that means he loves the Fourth of July — and since he is us, so do we.
Large-scale fireworks shows all tend to blend into one, like Barack Obama speeches you've forgotten the specifics the moment they're over. All you remember is that you felt good about something. What's memorable, though, are episodes in which you get to light the wicks with your own hand, hurl the incendiaries, or — yes, this is autobiographical — run like hell from the enraged, barefoot landlord who took exception to the detonation of Texas Pop Rockets in the air ducts of his domicile.
Yes, this would be illegal in present-day San Francisco. But, intriguingly, so would blowing up damn near anything.