Ah, yes: July Fourth. The time has come, once again, to shotgun too many Budweisers in some guy's backyard, eat a bunch of burnt hamburgers your dad made, and marvel at the sad, shoddy state of our broken democracy. Maybe pet a dog with an Uncle Sam hat on. The world is your oyster!
No celebration of our country's big, special birthday is complete without fireworks, that most American of pastimes: a loud, bright, senseless series of explosions liable to spiral into chaos at any moment. How about we all get in the spirit of this increasingly problematic holiday by watching a bunch of fireworks displays go horribly, horribly wrong. Sound good? Great! How's this for a start:
This video—ominously captioned "behold as night becomes day"—captured a truly unhinged Fourth in San Diego, in 2012. Essentially, every single firework went off at the same time, so that those in attendance watched, like, 84 finales in one, terrifying moment, which lasted all of about 35 seconds. Woohoo!
There's no intel on where, when, or why this happened; all we can glean about the event is that "fireworks fail created great show." "Great" is one way to put it; "psychologically scarring" is another. A war basically broke out here between man and the gigantic, highly unstable rockets we have tried to tame for our amusement—a war that, on this day, we certainly lost. Looks fun!
Though this particular disaster isn't as high-key as those depicted above, it is still a doozy. One, innocuous-looking speck of light flies into the air and, seconds later, proves to be a big, honking, potentially illicit mortar, exploding with what is just an obscene amount of force and setting off an entire neighborhood's worth of car alarms. Fireworks: They're great!
I have no idea what's happening here.
This one is good; this one is probably the best. A man identified only as a grandparent "lights her up," whatever she is, casually walks away, and stands completely still—unfeelingly, silently, without any sense of panic or concern—as everyone around him frantically scrambles to dodge the miniature bombs he's firing directly at them. This man does not give a fuck. He literally laughs at the end. He is my grandpa now.
Another bad one: A bunch of people repeatedly set off fireworks of increasing intensity way, way too close to a house. Eventually, the inevitable happens, and the windows of this house are blown out. One would think, after a catastrophe like that, these revelers would stop setting off fireworks, but no—they just keep lighting more and more, going bigger and bigger, before ultimately returning to the cannon that busted out those windows and calling it a "motherfucker." Fourth of July! It's fun!
I do not condone the publisher of this video's choice to slander this man as "dumb"; this man is a genius, a revelation, a gift to this world that should be treated and referred to as such. "I think I have perfected the mixture," he says timidly, clearly nervous about the fact that he's about to set off a homemade firework inside his own house. "It should just sparkle a little bit," he says. No; it sparkles a lotta bit. In fact, it explodes—though, thankfully, our host doesn't seem to sustain any serious injuries. "Holy smokes!" he proclaims. "Little too much magnesium, I guess. I won't do that again. Sorry about that." Don't say sorry, dear sir, whoever you are. You have blessed us with what is perhaps the greatest piece of footage this world has ever seen. Happy Fourth to you, and to you alone.
Sign up for our newsletter to get the best of VICE delivered to your inbox daily.
Follow Drew Schwartz on Twitter.