We Built This Country on Obscure References

fourth.jpgFor several years in my feckless post-collegiate youth, I had the same plans every Fourth of July. Two friends of mine shared an East Village apartment with roof access. So every Independence Day, we’d go up there, grill up some grub, drink some beers, and watch the fireworks. The festivities were occasionally enhanced by a live band, or a roving hitman with a squirt gun full of vodka. It was like something out of a Smirnoff Ice commercial, but with more body fat and fewer douchebags.

The fireworks were the highlight of the evening. Partly this was because the roof gave us an awesome vantage point to view them. But mostly, it was because of a weird, dorky tradition amongst my friends. I have no idea how this started, but before long it became just as much a part of the holiday as blowing off your pinky with an M-80.

Basically the game was, as each rocket’s red glare burst in the air, at the exact moment when a normal person would say ‘oooh’, you had to yell out an obscure American history reference. Preferably, one with negative connotations. And you had to scream it out in the same kind of voice heard in that timeless patriotic anthem “America! Fuck Yeah!”

Obscure scandals of yesteryear were the most popular choices. Nothing can make a whole bunch of dorks laugh harder than suddenly screaming out TEAPOT DOME SCANDAL! or XYZ AFFAIR!

Presidents were okay, but not the really big ones, obviously. Thomas Jefferson? No. But Franklin Pierce? Solid!

And since the Fourth of July is about America, anything American was fair game. Whether it be YELLOW NUMBER 5! or RIP TAYLOR! or CASSINGLES! These were initially frowned upon, but permitted once we’d burned through more strictly-history-oriented references like GEORGE WALLACE! and THE BULL MOOSE PARTY!

So what would you yell out during the fireworks this Fourth of July? Let’s hear some suggestions, fellow patriots.

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