After months of forced isolation and over a month of a close examination of police brutality and the reality of being Black in America, its time to celebrate the birth of the nation.

With varying levels of enthusiasm.

Coming to grips with your feelings about Independence Day is your own burden. If nothing else, you got the day off from work so you might as well stuff your face in a slightly elevated level of style.

Be sure to light the barbecue early while using those copies of Sunset and Martha Stewart Living magazines that have been staring at you from the coffee table for the past four months as kindling so that the coals have time to settle down a bit. Or you know, preheat the oven because you live in an apartment where the fire escape is right over the dumpster of the Pho joint and its illegal to have a grill on a balcony.

You know what, just go ahead and chunk the entire collection of lifestyle magazines in the dumpster. Set it on fire. You don’t need that cultural fascism through matching tableware in your life. Those assholes have assistants and photoshop. You have high blood pressure. Fuck them and the horse they rode on. They probably do have a horse. Fuck them double.

Sarah Eisenlohr

It doesn’t hurt to toss the salad now. Toss it right in the garbage because even the Sierra club wouldn’t blame you for not opening that three week expired bag of mixed greens in order to feed it into the compost bin.

If you’re a Pinterest kind of person, you can rip the chalkboard you used for trying to keep track of the housework but haven’t updated in nine months off the wall and write out the menu.

Appetizers: The inch of a half of Cheezits remaining in the box. Those little French pickles right out of the jar. That can of sardines in mustard that you bought two years ago when you were shopping while smashed. Any cheese product that’s still edible and more importantly, wasn’t eaten by someone at 3:00 in the morning while unable to sleep due to generalized feelings of dread.

To drink, there’s an assortment of domestic beer. Or foreign beer. Or wine in a can. Or those weird seltzer things that are the new wine spritzer with a measurable ABV.

Be sure to keep away from the hard stuff early on. You want to keep the floodgates of emotion tightly closed while you gaze longingly at the pleasant summer weather through the window wondering how many idiots are outside having a grand old time at a cookout not realizing they’re going to collide with a reality where an overworked nurse is ramming a breathing tube down their throat in about 17 days.

Served in the kitchen because fuck you, I’m not carrying it to the living room.

Main Course: Braised pork loin with warm potato salad. More beer.

Sounds fancy? Not even.

I’m not even going to wait for the toaster oven to preheat, I’m just going to pour a bottle of barbecue sauce over the dead pig, cover it with foil and slam it into the little oven. The potato salad is warm not because its trending on instagram right now, its because I decided to make it like 25 minutes ago and 20 of those were spent boiling the potatoes. I’m not waiting for them to cool off.

Spend the time waiting for the dead animal to finish reaching a temperature that won’t kill your ass by flicking through Netflix in an attempt to avoid conversation with the people you’ve been locked inside with for way too long. Has emotion bled out of them as well? Should you try to express your love for that special person in your life by letting them know they might be wearing the same coffee stained pajamas for three days but you still want to bang? Or would that be really awkward and better left after everyone’s had a few more drinks.

You’ve already binged everything you can possibly stand? Maybe if you pound the rest of that IPA and follow it with an airline bottle of Glenlivet you‘ll specifically murder the brain cells responsible for season 2 of Bake Off. At least that’s the theory. Bottoms up everyone!

When the alarm goes off and the thermometer tells you that you’re not going to be an unfortunate statistic, its time to think about presentation. Mostly, I think its for wankers. Who the hell has the time or energy to plate something when you and everyone you know has been refreshing COVID charts showing the new cases by day and wondering how long until the death rate shows a similar upswing for the past several weeks?

Put stuff on a plate. There. Done. Steak knives? Do we have steak knives? Is that a thing people have? Maybe we were vegetarians for too long.

Dessert: Um… more beer. And liquor.

Months of prioritizing groceries to bare essentials in order to minimize the number of trips into the Outside World has not left room for sweets. There’s a forgotten half pint of Hagen Das in the freezer but its part of the potato product glacier formation and no one is feeling that desperate. Yet.

And Now Fireworks:

Save a glass of sherry and a handful of salted nuts to take outside to gaze upon the illegal fireworks being set off by errant youth in the neighborhood. Are these nuts? Are they wasabi peas? Cat food? After breaking open the sugar encrusted bottle of apricot schnapps at the back of the liquor cabinet you can’t tell anymore.

Gaze upwards at the moments of visual and acoustic violence spreading overhead and take a moment to meditate upon the American Empire. More specifically its relationship to the Roman Empire. And that fact that the Roman Empire fell. And that none of those assholes left a how-to guide for surviving the collapse.