Fireworks are aggressively fine. They’re loud, which is decently entertaining for like five or so minutes. But then you sort of wait for them to end and wish they weren’t so loud. The bright colors are cool. But then again, you’re thinking about how all that smoke in the air probably isn’t safe.
You’re going to see fireworks on the Fourth of July and make an event out of it if you live in America. But you really wish you were nine years old again so you could celebrate the Fourth the right way: by catching fireflies.
Catching fireflies before the fireworks was more fun than fireworks themselves.
Lining up in a crowded area was super terrible, but running around the adults, cupping your hands to catch a lightning bug as a kid was freeing as hell. Honestly it was the main event. The firefly competition was how we asserted dominance amongst the group of unfamiliars who were also dragged in to watch fireworks with their parents.
Experienced fun-havers (like me) even came prepared with a jar to horde the bugs in and show off their catching talents. Fireflies must’ve really hate that. Actually, I’m really sorry to all the fireflies that I forcibly shoved into a mostly-closed container once upon a time. That was mean of me.
But catching fireflies was competitive as all hell for the preteens and younger, and the jar was the only way to show off your greatness. What’s more American than a bunch of youths competitively disturbing a species of bug?
This brings me to the next reason why this piece on lightning bugs is running on a site called Sports Blog Nation.
Catching fireflies is a sport because a lot of strategy was involved.
Everyone had a different tactic when it came to removing fireflies from their natural habitat. Some roamed the sidewalk bumping into random, probably drunk pedestrians. Some used flashlights and like sort of pretend to be one with the bug. Some looked in the grass, some in the plants.
But there was only one way to really win (and I used this strat a lot).
Finding the sorry-ass little kids who spot a bug lighting up perfectly enough for you to see in dark surroundings that they couldn’t reach was the perfect way to win. If you have height, that was your way to victory, reaching up above the puny competition.
The only struggle with this was being that kid whose adrenaline hits a little too hard so that you smush the bug entirely. Dead bugs didn’t count. Please, children reading, don’t harm the bugs this way. They have a stressful enough holiday.
This was a lot of words about fireflies.
I hope nostalgia has hit and you remember a moment when you were young and free and not forced to pretend that fireworks are great. Also I’m so sorry to the west coast folks. A quick google search and chat with a co-worker (the Nick Pants) enlightened me that most species of fireflies only exist east of Kansas. Sorry, west of Kansas people. You’re stuck with watching the loudass fireworks.
Please share your firefly catching strategy in the comments below.