Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Celebrate by terrifying wildlife!

Florida has a weird relationship with fireworks.  Technically, any fireworks that fly and/or explode are illegal.

"That can't be" you say.  It's true my dear friends.

"Then why are there stands and even superstores that sell all kinds of awesome stuff that goes bang?" you ask.

That's where we get all Florida up in this bitch.  See, there's a loophole in the law.  In most places, if you have nuisance animals you may put out traps or a scarecrow or maybe even call an exterminator.  Not in Florida.  In Florida, you shell the bastards with artillery.  Flying and exploding fireworks are legal as long as you're using them to scare off nuisance animals or illuminating a railway.

Sources say that the loophole was put in place about 60 years ago, however, to my knowledge, widespread exploitation didn't start until the mid-1990's.  I can remember as a youth in the 80's having my firecrackers and bottle rockets confiscated by the po-po on more than one occasion.

Lets rewind to the mid 1990's and your truly notices a fireworks store on the side of the road.  Of course I stop in and start talking with the proprietor who reminds me of the one armed guy from The Simpsons (cigarette and all) but sounded like Joe Dirt.

This is when I learn about this glorious nuisance wildlife loophole.  Seriously, all you had to do to purchase these things was fill out a little form with name, address and sign saying you are going to use the fireworks to scare off nuisance wildlife.   The best part: they didn't check ID.  Of course, once I found out that no ID was required, all of my fireworks were bought by my good friends Heywood Jablomey and Dick Burns.

I was so giddy, I dropped about $100 on crap flappers, spleen splitters, honkey lighters and whistling kitty chasers.

So I make it home with the loot and start looking for nuisance wildlife and by this I mean my neighbor.  I started shelling him from my yard.  It was like the bombing of Dresden.

Those were the opening shots of a war that lasted years.  It got to the point that we had to sneak out of the house under cover of darkness just to get the mail or take out the trash if the other guy was home because the artillery is coming out.  When we weren't firing them at each other, we were blowing up fire ant beds.  When we ran out of fire ants in our yards, we blew up the ants in our other neighbors yards.

Hell hath no fury like a swarm of fire ants that was just launched into the air by an explosive device.  You learn to get out of the area quick style.

Sometime around 1999, my co-worker Jesse and I were working in Miami for a few weeks.  On the way down in our work van we decided to stop at a little tourist stand to grab a Coke.  You know the place.  Right off the interstate, sells bags of oranges and gator heads.  Like a Stuckey's, but Florida style.  Anyway, guess what they had...   FIREWORKS!  So Jesse and I buy a bunch of firecrackers and bottle rockets.  We are rolling down I95 dropping firecrackers out the window and giggling like morons.  Jesse was driving and I got the bright idea to fire a bottle rocket out the window.  

So I light the rocket and it goes off, but my aim must have been off because instead of going out the window it hit the frame and bounced right back into the van and proceeded to ricochet all over the place.  It finally ended up in the driver side foot well and blew up.  All of this is happening at 70 mph on the interstate.  We were laughing so hard at our stupidity and the sheer amount of smoke in the van that we had to pull over on the side of the road for a little bit.

Our ears were ringing and Jesse's pants were a little scorched but thankfully, thats the worst that happened during that stupid stunt.  It wasn't the first time I launched a rocket from a moving vehicle, but I don't think I'll do it again.

At least not on the interstate.

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