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Fireworks Fail Spawns Spectacle

July 9, 2014, 0 Comments

Caution to headphone users.

Each year, lawns across America provide front row seating to an explosive display of aerial patriotism. But 4th of July fireworks have evolved from their modest bottle rocket roots a wholly immersive experience.

Seasoned spectators will marvel at the show’s grandeur, submitting themselves to the emotional journey delivered by each strategic blast. A once-dormant sky burns bright with possibility, creating a shared experience capped off by a momentous grand finale. Or at least, that’s how it’s supposed to happen.

Spectators in San Diego experienced a bit more bang than they bargained for during their annual fireworks show on July 4, 2012. How much bang, you ask? Let’s just say the show was over before it started, with a computer malfunction deploying all 7,000 fireworks in just 15 seconds.

While nobody was injured by the pyrotechnic misfire, the crowd’s reaction became a show in itself. In an environment heralded for its safe thrills, the context had suddenly changed. The threat of real danger had become apparent, leaving spectators unsure of whether to cheer or to flee. Lady in the white pants, I’m looking squarely at you.

As the threat of danger dissipated, the audience was left to process what they had witnessed, and understandably, some folks were disappointed by the show’s brevity. Yet others basked in the lingering excitement of the preceding event, acknowledging the oddity as the fireworks show of a lifetime.

Do we classify this as a fireworks mishap, unintentional art, or a perhaps mixture of both? For now, I’m calling it a fascinating social experiment in it’s purest form. What say you?