The United States of Pyromania.

Last night my brother put on his annual fireworks show, which promises always to be entertaining, and occasionally life-threatening. Between being dive-bombed by a flaming ladybug and nearly scorched by a poorly-aimed spinner, between the clouds of sulfurous smoke and scattered bits of blasted paper packaging, I was able to grasp at the American Spirit of liberty and justice for all. Or maybe, more accurately, I was taking hold of something more general, more human than national, more existential than patriotic. Here is the truth: Being alive can be a lot of fun! It has nothing to do with being American, really (although we did cap off the night with a somewhat obnoxious rendition of the Battle Hymn of the Republic). But it isn’t un-American either. We drew a mark across the sky, and watched it come alive. We’re alive!

The night before this I had a fairly narcissistic dream that went thus: A friend that I knew from college had written his memoir, and when I attained a copy I saw that I was a huge part of his story. It wasn’t exactly a flattering portrayal of myself, and I spent half of the dream preparing to point out to others all of the inaccuracies, but nevertheless it was very much about me and I was proud of that. I’m not actually friends with this person anymore–in real life we grew apart a couple years ago–and I doubt that he would actually include me in his story as more than a brief mention. You have a name but no one knows it, and no one’s going to write a book about you. I’ve begun to write a version of my own story (I think everyone needs to do this) imbued with countless artistic liberties and fantastic, but purposeful, twists of reality. Maybe I’ll finish it before I die; that is my realistic and attainable goal. I’d like to share some of what I’ve learned in this life. I hope that’s not narcissism. At least not any more than this blog is.

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    Breena Wiederhoeft
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