The Fireworks Retaliation Playlist


Coombsie and I lived in the city proper for 14+ years. During that time, we had a number of relatives who refused to visit us in our urban digs. You know, because the city is DANGEROUS.

I always wanted to tell them, “Listen, I am a product of the suburbs. And let me tell you, FAR more freakish shit happens there than here.” Prostitution rings run from dungeons in basement rec rooms? The ‘burbs. Major oxycodone busts involving pillars of the community? The ‘burbs. And yet people persist in clinging to this belief that if you live somewhere with a lot of trees and chain restaurants, you’re “safer” than you are in a city.

In the city we lived less than a block from a playground and a health center. We were within walking distance of nice parks and organic grocery stores. We moved to a suburb north of Boston a couple of years ago. We are now within walking distance of a strip club, a shady abandoned bank building, and a bar that’s open at 8 o’clock in the morning. And these same relatives were all, “Yay! When are you having a barbeque? What do you want us to bring?”

In the city, our neighbors were artists, teachers, and social workers. In this suburb north of Boston, our neighbors are…well…hillbillies.

Yes, this is an incorrect term, both “politically” and geographically. Our neighbors are not literal hillbillies.

A very large number of them all seem to live in the same house on the end of our street. They spill out onto their driveway and down the sidewalk, upon which the children scrawl obscene epithets with luridly-hued chalk. In the evening, they sit on their steps (and sometimes OUR steps) and yell into their cellphones. The air is electric with profanity (which ordinarily isn’t a problem for me; it’s just that it’s such pedestrian profanity). On Saturday nights, they get quite intoxicated and wander up and down the street loudly bewailing the sad, sorry state of their relationships/jobs/other family members. And they LOVE fireworks.

And hey – who doesn’t? It’s just that they have been setting off fireworks roughly every evening since June 29th. There is seemingly no end to their cache of illegal celebratory explosives. This past Sunday night they began lighting them off at 10 o’clock. So I began devising some retaliation strategies that A) would get my message across (the message being: “Hey hillbilly neighbors – quit setting off fireworks when it’s no longer Independence Day!”), and B) wouldn’t get me beaten up by the aforementioned hillbilly neighbors, who already think I’m a freak (and let’s face it, I am).

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a rather large collection of music, reflecting my varied and broad tastes. Some of my favorite music tends to be a little…er…DARK. I also gravitate towards loud, inappropriate lyrical content, and downright strange. So I figured, I’ll create a playlist that I can play at, say, eight o’clock on a Sunday morning when teh hillbilly neighborz are sleeping off their hangovers. It will be something I will enjoy listening to, AND it will deliver a couple of messages:

1) I am crazy as hell.
2) I will keep playing this for as long as you have fireworks.

Let me remind you again: I was raised in the suburbs.