Monday, July 08, 2013

White and free

My friend David was down from Princeton for the weekend of the 4th, and naturally we went to pick up some fireworks at the tent set up outside of Whole Foods. I was, to be clear, a little surprised that we could buy fireworks at all in North Carolina, as that was a franchise I thought we had granted, in our most estimable benevolence, to the benighted citizens of South Carolina. What I learned when I went into the tent on Thursday was that one can buy fireworks in NC now, so long as they don't have some sort of rocket system that sends them soaring into the sky.  At best, these fireworks promise "showers of sparks" or "fountains of sparks" (which ended up being not all that bad).

In any case, it was warm in that tent, and I would imagine it could get a little boring, so the friendly proprietors had set up an air mattress for themselves, as shown below, with a fan blowing air across it and boom box blasting out the very best of classic rock.

So, as we were checking out and buying an amusing assortment of incendiaries, David and I naturally engaged the guy at the register -- a friendly sort with a beard, some tattoos, and a pickup truck with a "Got Truck?" bumper sticker -- in banter. And, as it was our great nation's birthday, the conversation naturally wended its way around to the topic of liberty. The guy asked where we were from, and David let on that he was from NJ. The guy said "I know a guy from Manhattan. He's working a tent for me over in Winston-Salem.  And he's actually an OK person."  We were relieved to learn this.

Then, after I had walked towards the car, he shook David's hand and shared a significant moment with him in quiet tones.  When we were in the car, David, enjoying a little giggle, informed me that the guy had said to him:  "We're white and we're free, what more could you ask for?"

And, indeed, what could be better than to share in the glorious cultural patrimony of our shared whiteness on July 4.  God Bless America!

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