Global economy blues

Gazette exclusives

Humor Gazette feed

Drill Sergeant loses it
(YouTube sensation!)

Handy sites (Political Humor)
Borowitz Report
Glossy News

Media Matters
New York Times
Satire Awards

« Dodds' D.C. detour | Page One | Crack found in shuttle »

to the first Fourth of July

By John Breneman

Had to dash down to the Library of Congress this week because I realized I had an overdue book ("Curious George Plays With Fireworks"). While I was there, I began snooping around and stumbled across a document that sheds startling new light on our nation's very first July 4th celebration.

The year was 1776. Thomas Jefferson threw a barbecue at his house and all the founding fathers were there, along with everybody who was anybody during those heady days before the Revolution.

The Washingtons -- George, Martha and little Denzel -- stopped by with some of Martha's famous lo-carb cherry pie, considered to be the tastiest in the Colonies.

John and Abigail Adams brought a crate of lobsters and their 9-year-old son John Quincy, who did nothing but complain that little Andy Jackson, also 9, kept knocking his glasses off.

Adams' older brother Samuel, wearing a stylish puffy shirt and brown vest, hauled along plenty of his famous "hand-crafted" beer and kept urging people to try his Bunker Hill Pale Ale.

Young Aaron Burr brought some pistols in case anyone wanted to duel and Benjamin Franklin had a box full of kites festooned with an array of stripes and stars.

Once most of the guests had arrived at Jefferson's Monticello estate, Paul Revere galloped up on his horse, Tea Biscuit, screaming, "The British are coming! The British are coming!"
"Just kidding," said the patriotic prankster, who then wandered off to ask Sam Adams for a Valley Forge Lager.

Meanwhile, Jefferson was playing the consummate host. He had set up a dunking booth with an unfortunate Tory dressed up like the King of England and the children hollered "Taxation without representation!" as they hurled stones to knock the hapless "king" into the water.

Garbed in a chef's hat and an apron embroidered with the words, "All menus are NOT created equal," Jefferson flipped burgers and hot dogs at the grill and ladled tankards of East India Company iced tea out of a barrel.

"Hey Jefferson," shouted fellow Virginian Patrick Henry, "Give me another corndog or give me death!"

Spirits were high because there was a growing sense that the Colonies were sick and tired of being bossed around by King George III, who little Andrew Jackson kept calling "King Georgie Porgie Fatty."

After everyone was stuffed, Jefferson gathered the whole group and pulled out a rolled-up piece of paper with some fancy writing on it. He cleared his throat and began reading. "When in the course of human events," he began, "yada, yada, yada... We hold these truths to be, um..."

"Self-evident?" suggested Ben Franklin.

"Yeah that's it, self-evident ... that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of …"

"Beer!" shouted Sam Adams.

"Naked chicks!!" exclaimed Paul Revere.

"No, Happiness," said Jefferson, who droned on for about 20 more minutes until Revere said Jefferson's "Declaration of Impudence" was right on the money.

John Hancock grabbed a pen and Adams spilled a little of his beer onto the edges of the document, saying it would help give it that "parchment" feel.

Then the celebration really started to get lively. Thomas Paine implored the revelers to use common sense, but Hancock and Franklin began lighting off crude rockets packed with gun powder and various minerals that produced colorful streaks when ignited.

As Hancock lit the fuse of a Red Glare Whistling Aerial Repeater, he was distracted for a moment by an attractive young slave and the charge detonated, blowing off both his right hand and his favorite powdered wig.

Fortunately, a young seamstress named Betsy Ross dropped what she was working on, grabbed Hancock's hand and began sewing it back onto his arm.

Despite the accident, John Adams suggested -- for real -- that henceforth we should celebrate our independence each Fourth of July with "pomp and parade ... guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore."

So that's the story of our nation's first Independence Day. I still can't believe that I found it where I did -- scrawled on the back of a 230-year-old, corndog-encrusted cocktail napkin in the shaky but unmistakable hand of John Hancock.

Humor Gazette editor John Breneman is believed to be a direct descendent of Denzel Washington.

Posted on July 3, 2006 10:59 AM | Permalink

Previous post: Dodds' D.C. detour.

Next post: Crack found in shuttle.


About the Humor Gazette