“Happy For Your Life!” (Happy Fourth of July)
Happy Fourth of July, everyone! Or, as I like to imitate a drunken fool yelling on our Independence Day in D.C. once, long ago: “Happy For Your Life!”
It was 1996, and my family had just moved to Washington, D.C. As newly arrived residents to the great state of Maryland (from Alabama by way of Texas, North Carolina, and New Jersey . . .), we had the bright idea to wander into the city with a baby (my brother was not yet a year old at the time) into the horrendously oppressive heat that is trademark to the capital. Tired of the throngs of tourists, we found a spot under a cherry blossom tree around the Tidal Basin, and set down to wait.
A few meters behind us was a group of people who were clearly enjoying their holiday with copious amounts of alcohol. Soon, we heard one man singing loudly . . . Happy for your LIFE! HAPPY for YOUR life! HAPPY! FOR! YOUR! LIFE!!
My brothers and I, bored from sitting for hours waiting for the fireworks to start, loved it. The man finally managed to jump into the Tidal Basin, singing and practicing his breast stroke the entire time. A couple policemen eventually fished him out. He sang the entire way. I can still hear him, loud and clear, in the faded pictures of my memory.
This is my first Fourth of July spent in San Francisco. It’s beautiful out today, but much as I wish I could be out and about, celebrating, my plans this year don’t involve drunken fools or hilarity in the form of jumping into the bay or the ocean (much to my chagrin). Instead, I, like most of my fellow bar takers, am finding that butt prints really do appear in chairs if you sit in them too long without getting up.
For all of you (“us,” I suppose) who are hitting that wall and freaking out– I can offer only the best wishes and luck. It’s all about perspective. The end of this road is rapidly approaching, and our lives can soon begin again. May you be able to persevere and make it through this marathon to the very end.
And I’ll see you on the other side. We can be drunken fools and jump into the bay together.
My dad said the drunkard wasn’t really yelling “happy for your life,” rather, he was trying to say “Happy Fourth of July,” but was too drunk to be able to enunciate otherwise. Either way, it was one of my most memorable Fourth of July memories. And I’ll leave you with that– be happy for your life. It can be painful sometimes, but . . . in the end, you’re here. Might as well make the best of it.
Filed under: Holiday, law school, photography | 2 Comments
Tags: California, happy for your life, happy fourth of july, independence day, memories, prose, san francisco, summer, washington dc