I'm a law-abiding citizen.
Except when I'm not.
So far, I've managed to avoid committing murder, rape, robbery, assault, pillaging, insider trading, or violating any leftover protection-from-abuse orders.
I wear my seat belt. I don't illegally download music, movies, or video games. When boarding airplanes, I submit to having my junk groped by strangers in cheesy uniforms.
In return for this exemplary behavior, I deserve a little leeway from the authorities when it comes to matters less vital to national security, highway safety, or the profit margins of entertainment conglomerates. While attending outdoor events in cold weather, I want to be left alone if I take a reviving nip from my flask. Same thing in warm weather, when I smuggle a few cold beers past security. And so long as I employ reasonable discretion, there's no cause for excessive enforcement of ordinances banning public urination.
Live and let live, I say.
Or, in the case of fireworks, burn and self-mutilate, while allowing others to wreak the same havoc.
In Maine, we're currently living under a slight variation on the National Rifle Association's mantra: When M-80s are outlawed, only outlaws will have M-80s. Not to mention bottle rockets, Catherine wheels, dragon eggs, and ICBMs pilfered from the former Soviet Union.
If upright citizens — exhibiting respect for the flag, Mom, and apple pie made with fruit harvested by illegal immigrants — want to display their patriotism by launching exploding projectiles and detaching a few fingers and eyeballs, they must do so while eluding the fully intact heavy hand and undamaged probing eyes of the law.
This hardly seems fair to those of us who enjoy celebrating our country's independence or our graduation from the Osama bin Laden School of Violent Cultural, Religious, and Governmental Alteration by blowing things up. So on behalf of both groups, let me offer my support for the bill sponsored by Republican state Representative Douglas Damon of Bangor, which would legalize the sale of little bombs, uncontrollable mini-rockets, and flammable installations that would cause your insurance agent to promptly cancel your homeowner's coverage if he or she knew what you were up to.
"Fireworks are here, whether we like it or not," Damon told a February 7 public hearing on his bill before the Legislature's Joint Standing Committee on Preventing People From Enjoying Themselves. "We have the fireworks, but we don't have the safety training for handling them. That has to change."
Isn't it just like a legislator to come up with a great idea, and then take all the fun out of it by mandating safety training? If we wanted to be safe, we'd put out our cigars before checking to see if the outflow on this propane tank is properly duct-taped to the plastic garbage bag we're filling to create the world's largest luminaria.
Well, actually, Damon's bill doesn't require safety training. It just mandates that dealers hand out brochures explaining why you shouldn't ignite fireworks stuck in bodily orifices. Nothing in the legislation requires you to read this stuff.
I mention all that not because I think this fireworks legislation is crucial to my continued happiness. Regardless of whether the bill passes, I've already got my order in for next Fourth of July's explosives, including at least three rockets larger than anything in North Korea's arsenal. But at the above-mentioned hearing there was a problem with how this measure was presented that lingers like the traces of radioactivity on my missiles' warheads.