Saturday, July 5, 2008

Explosive Personality

My son lives two lives.

On most days of the entire year, he is a relatively normal guy. A nice looking young businessman just doing his thing. Goes to work, teases his sisters, hangs out with his friends and girlfriend, visits his dear old mum and dad. 

Something happens to my son about the middle of April. At first the change is imperceptible. He starts spending more time with a special group of acquaintances. He starts wearing a hard hat and steel toed shoes. Somewhere around the end of June, he changes his screen saver on his PC to show various colorful explosions. By the time July rolls around, forget it. My kid is totally fixated on his next fix of smoke and fire and flashy explosions. 

Yes, I have to admit this publicly.  My child is a pyrotechnician. 

OK - a clarification here - I don't mean pyromaniac, but rather someone who is licensed to actually fire off enormous rounds of fireworks, and freely chooses to associate with large numbers of others who have made the same choices. 

I had a hard time accepting this type of lifestyle at first. "But honey," I would repeatedly ask. "Don't you like having all your fingers attached? Do you really want to have burned off eyebrows?" He would simply smile and patiently show me various chapters in his safety manual. 

The first time that a shipment of large boxes arrived at our house that had been approved by the United States Department of Tobacco and Firearms, I was shocked. My son had tried to prepare me for the shipment's arrival but seeing all the warnings and hazardous labels sitting in my garage was very unsettling. I watched Son check each box's contents like a kid opening presents on Christmas morning. "Look at this beauty, Mom!" he would exclaim and with eyes shining, hold up a dusty, sulfurous smelling package. 

Over the past few years, I have learned to limit my hyperventilation episodes to one per day when he is working at large fireworks shows. As a matter of fact, this year, I watched his company's enormous display with patriotic music choreographed to the explosions as thousands of people oohed and aahed and actually enjoyed myself. The very large, very potent margarita I was sipping helped a great deal. 

Still, I am very glad when another Fourth of July celebration is finished, and he survives; tired, happy, and very smokey, but all appendages attached. 

Maybe I should find a support group somewhere for mothers of children who love pyrotechnics. 

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