Last weekend was the town Harvest Festival. I am sure a long time ago this town holiday had some relationship to farming and the timing had something to do with harvest time, hence the name. Not so much anymore, it’s mostly symbolism but it is still a big deal. When we first moved here from Sacramento liked to make fun of the antics in our little new little hick town. Now we participate, my lovely wife wins ribbons for photography, follower arranging, and occasionally freakishly large vegetables. I normally do not want to get involved in the local activities. My lovely wife usually drags me into one thing or another, like helping as a “volunteer”. Yes I get volunteered or maybe volenteerifyed? It’s kind of like that. This year I volunteered on my own (fireworks) and was volenteerifyed to squirt high school kids.
This sounds much more fun than it was; I marched (jogged, walked, stumbled, sauntered, strolled, mosied), alongside the marching band and squirted water into their mouths to keep them from dropping dead from heat exhaustion. The marching band uniforms are not made to march in 80+ temps, on asphalt streets, behind the Budweiser Clydesdales. I don’t blame them for breaking ranks periodically to avoid some rather large organic speed bumps. So my lovely wife and I sprayed water on and in the band for a little over two miles.
Not so bad, but I was already tired before it started.
The day before we watered the marching band, I spent the entire day putting on, firing, and taking down the harvest festival fireworks display. Not me alone, six other pyros did their parts, but I got to fire it off, and I got to get up early to look for duds.
I volunteered to be the button pushing pyro god. At first I was nervous, what would happen if I didn’t do everything just right? What if I lost my place and skipped from queue #5 to #7 and end up with a bunch of un-fired pyro at the end of the show? Well, it turns out that my fears were un-founded. The way the boss set up this show was on computer. He had a recording of a computerized voice that said when to launch what. Like this…
Pause for a few seconds
All I had to do was listen and push buttons. This kind of bothered me, was this going to be like the movie War Games, with me as an idiot silo operator turning a switch on the orders of some robot?
It turned out that the computers we have now are much better than in the 80s. (Duh) The voice was very feminine with a British accent. We named her Brittany. Ok, I can handle being told what to do it asked nicely, especially by what I imagined as a slim and sexy British woman. my mental picutre was of the nurse from American Werewolf in London. She was also on Logan’s run. No problem at all.
The show got underway and everything was going well. “Number 5” Click Pow! I was a pyro god with a British muse whispering in my ear to supply inspiration. Then on Queue #10 something went wrong. Either there was a mis-wired queue, or maybe a hot ash from a previous mortar settled onto a fuse. what ever the cause one of the two finally racks went off early. I still had 20 queues left to go. The show needed to be slowed down, we didn’t have enough fireworks to last the duration, I needed to save up to help a now rather anemic finally. The boss came over, yelling to me to slow it down and save up for the finally. (Duh) meanwhile Brittney was still trying to inspire me to pick up the pace. I couldn’t figure out how to shut the Bitch up.
No! I’m still on 13 you crazy brit, give me a break.
I send #14 off to the sky and she drives on to #16, then quickly to #17.
Aahrhggg!, where did I leave off?
“#14” I tell myself “that’s right just keep on finger on the next Queue, don’t take your finger off the switch”
This goes on for a while but I am getting tired of her voice, so I use my other hand to try to turn off the MP3 player. Its dark, with stobing smoking effects all around me, so I only succeed in turning up the volume. Now Brittney is yelling in my ear.
I actually yell “Shut up!” It does no good.
I finally manage to pull the plug out of the player, grateful for the silence, but now completely out of cadence. The boss runs up again and yells, “quicken it up a bit, were almost there” I fire off a few shots. A few seconds later I fire off the last three in rapid succession in an attempt to make up some holes in the finally. I finally take my hands off the panel, and watch the last few shells.
Whew, it’s done.
I am able to take off my ear muffs and listen to the reaction. There were cheers from the audience. This affected me more than I thought it would. I actually felt grateful.
I hope Brittney gets fired. Next time give me a script and a stopwatch.
I will never be able to watch American Werewolf in London or Logans run again.