Give me a break – and a Happy Fourth

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Over the weekend, someone was on the T griping about how people have started to say “Happy Fourth!” in that bright-eyed, bushy-tailed American way. I am sure my fellow rider was impressing her Eastern European-sounding interlocutor.

Perhaps it is better to say “Enjoy the time off,” “I hope you enjoy the 4th with your family,” or something similar. But give me a break: Why not “Happy Fourth”?

We are constitutionally constructed around the ideal of the pursuit of happiness as defined by citizens, so I think it is absolutely great to have a happy 4th, and I intend on doing just that — back in li’l old Cumberland, RI. Happiness on the Fourth in Cumberland means:

  • A 4-mile footrace in the morning (80th annual), unless enjoyment the night before makes that an “unhappy” experience;
  • The Arnolds Mills Parade at 11 a.m. with old cars, the Shriners, the Veterans Band, some pretty checkered-looking clowns (and I am not referring to some sort of Harlequin costume or to my chubby, balding high school mates and their spoiled-rotten kids);
  • Time to kick back and wax nostalgic about chewing on beer glasses, stupid fights or who has the tapes of our punk rock band (blackmail alert!). Look, I know that’s lame if it goes on for more than an hour, but the ritual of re-living those stories every year on the Fourth reconnects us, maybe humbles us, and is fun. And it sure beats the alternative — nattering on about the price of real estate, the state of the schools, and how much everyone hates new construction.

If you want to tag a long, I would suggest getting there by 8:45 to get a spot. To all, a Happy Fourth!