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I love America too much to work July 5 

July 4 falls on a Wednesday this year, which, generally speaking for most of us bites. Possibly some enlightened companies will turn it into a five-day weekend, but I'll bet the majority will do the opposite and turn it into one useless island of a day off, smack in the middle of the week. If your boss is one of these people, it can be used as tangible proof in any court that they don't love America. I'm fairly sure about that.

It is un-American. How can somebody properly celebrate our nation's independence with one day off? A patriot can't even get patriotically drunk in one day, much less sober enough to return to work. We need the day after the 4th just to put out the fires we started.

It leaves me wonderingÜhow many folk will a) come to work the next day with a hangover, (b) get sunburned so bad their back blisters, (c) get piss wasted, lose one sandal, burn themselves with illegal fireworks, vomit, look for sex, fail, fight instead, get arrested, and end up experimenting with some rough prison lovin'.

Don't tell anybody, but I don't plan to come back in on the 5th, 6th, or 7th next week. I love America too much for that. So let me go ahead and give you next week's headlines in advance, so you don't even have to bother with the papers:

"Fire started by fireworks burns thousands of acres"

The irony here is that the fireworks that start the fire may well turn out to have been sold to benefit firefighters. I read that the Oceano Firefighters Association is one of the groups who were trying to get permission to sell fireworks in that town. Aren't those supposed to be the guys telling us not to play with fireworks?

"Fresno family swept out to sea"

This is what happens on the 4th of July on the Central Coast. First it will be the uncle, showing off, who gets caught in a rip tide. Then the dad will swim out after, forgetting that he never learned how. Then will come mom, grandma, Aunt Josephine, a dozen or so cousins and the entire membership of The Bangles. They'll Drown like an Egyptian. Somebody tell the Mid-State Fair.

"DUI trap nets patriotic drunks"

Last year the California Highway Patrol pulled over 20 drunken bastards in SLO County. This year the boys in blue will have every available officer on patrol from July 3 at 6 p.m. until midnight July 4th. Be like ol' Shred, hire a sober rickshaw runner this year.

"Accident claims lives on Highway 46"

I wish I were joking.

"Away, but not forgotten"

This will be a story that will remind us how important it is to remember the troops serving abroad by mailing them something or other that they couldn't possibly find a use for, like seashells. Seashells for Soldiers, they'll call it, and it will be headed by some determined young schoolgirl, who plans to go to Harvard.

Don't they understand that Halliburton is already supplying the soldiers with every thing they could want? everything, anyway, except a ticket home? This war is different. It's not like M.A.S.H., where we saw soldiers peeling potatoes and eating glop. In Iraq, they've got soda machines and Pizza Huts, and citizens are told to support the troops not by scrimping tinfoil and rationing sugar but by shopping. In this war, the only things that get sacrificed are the lives of soldiers and Iraqis and the respect of the rest of the world. The soldiers don't need us to knit cozies or doilies or undies and mail them to them. The military gives them all of those. In green. Want to give them a gift? Give them the gift of ending the damn thing.

"Oceano Dunes pile-up"

A birdwatcher will be blamed for distracting a dune buggy driver, who will swerve into the path of the monster truck, whose driver will be forced to ram into the 18x18 wheeled semi-truck rolling around the dunes, which then will plow over theetc. Stupid birdwatchers.

"Home sales plunge further, but Realtors remain optimistic"

I'm starting to wonder if the Realtors who get quoted in the stories about the plunging housing statistics are confusing the MLS with XTC. No matter how bad the news seems to be, they keep saying that this is the "soft landing" they've been expecting or that brighter days are just around the corner Really? Isn't it equally possible that the slump will last at least as long as the boom and go on for a few more years?

"Graduates disappointed by real world"

The cable bill is due, and the parental checks have stopped. What to do?

"OLN denies PLRES in BDSTZ standoff"

What's with all the acronyms in newspapers. We're supposed to remember who these groups are?

"Cutie wootie bunny wunny finds home"

This won't be a story, just a really long cutline in the Tribune, underneath a massive picture of some adorable fuzzy thing, with a gap-toothed kid playing with it. Bah.

"Local teen advances in obscure competition"

Lucky us. We've got kids doing things we never thought possible. Mostly because we've never heard of the things they're excelling at. They always seem to be advancing in one-off events like Eurasian geography bees, or pan flute competitions, or iPod disassembly contests. Everybody's a winner these days.

"WWI Vet contemplates what could be his last 4th of July"

A feature story. Just watch: He'll still fit into his uniform.

"Are your teens at risk on the 4th?"

This will be the teaser on the news, repeated at every commercial break. The answer, you'll find out 28 minutes into the newscast, is "probably not."

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