The Loudest Holiday

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Raging Moderate

Hey everybody. You know all that anxiety that’s been building up? Well, just let it go and relax now, because the 4th of July is here. The Great American Holiday. The one with the noise and the colors and the hot. Now, it is summer. That’s what the 4th is. Not just the day we celebrate the anniversary of the birth of the best country in the history of the world but also the heart of the season of light.

No matter what the astronomers tell us, it’s not the solstice that signifies the beginning of our season of mayhem. Not in America. Its 7/4, thirteen days later, when kids run amuck while parents drink beer out of cans and fall off of patio furniture. When families squeeze into minivans and travel long distances to get into fights over the logistics of eating fries at Mickey D’s and burgers at the King.

It’s when the senses are heightened. The smell of cut grass, the grip of a pair of sneakers, the sound of children playing volleyball on the beach, the tickle of butter from a roasted cob of corn dripping all the way down your arm to the elbow. The thunk of a Frisbee on the back of the head. The piercing cry of a loved one as they discover sand in the bed.

It’s a holiday that transcends normal political persuasions; a frozen moment in time when white wine sipping, NPR listening, Prius driving, Birkenstock wearing hippies stand shoulder to shoulder with country western listening, pickup truck driving, cowboy boot wearing, Coors Lite chugging rednecks, both groups clutching tiny American flags in a small town square watching a parade of bicycles with red, white and blue bunting woven through the spokes.

It’s beauty queens waving from the back seats of convertibles. And kids swinging on a tire tied to a tree over the bank of a pond. Slip and slides. Burnt marshmallows. Not getting dark until nine. It’s people deciding that any piece of clothing they can squeeze into, fits.

It’s the loudest holiday as well with marching bands and fireworks and the sizzle of burger fat dripping on the coals. The tinny mantra of a baseball game on an AM radio, wafting down from a porch. Motorcycles revving down the highway in packs. Politicians barking new promises through old bullhorns.

Have yourself one heck of a terrific summer and make it last. Swim and swing and swoon. Take long walks on unfamiliar paths. Buy a new chaise lounge. Watch or better yet, play a game of slow pitch softball. Char some flesh, either animal or your own or both.

Make sure you find time for a little bit of fun, because it won’t be long before we’re back at each other’s throats. You know, like Thursday the 5th. The same day the back-to-school sales start and all the sports channels start promoting football.

And have a happy birthday America, you great-looking country, you. May be going through a tough patch here. But you know what they say; tough times never last, but tough countries do. And you probably hear this a lot but you still look pretty good considering you’re 242 years old. Could use a little work around the eyes. Then again, couldn’t we all.

Copyright 2018, Will Durst, distributed by the Cagle Cartoons Inc. syndicate.

Will Durst is an award-winning, nationally acclaimed columnist, comic and former sod farmer in New Berlin, Wisconsin. For a calendar of personal appearances, including his new one-man show, “Durst Case Scenario,” please visit willdurst.com.

Comedy For People Who Read Or Know Someone Who Does

As the sacred cows set themselves up for slaughter each night at six, America cries out for a man with the aim, strength and style to swat the partisan political piñatas upside their heads. Will Durst is that man. Sweeping both sides of the aisle with a quiver full of barbs sharpened by a keen wit and dipped into the same ink as the day's headlines, Durst transcends political ties, performing at events featuring Vice President Al Gore and former President George H.W. Bush, also speaking at the Governors Conference and the Mayors Convention cementing his claim as the nation's ultimate equal opportunity offender. Outraged and outrageous, Durst may mock and scoff and taunt, but he does it with taste.

A Midwestern baby boomer with a media-induced identity crisis, Durst has been called "a modern day Will Rogers" by The L.A. Times while the S. F. Chronicle hails him as "heir apparent to Mort Sahl and Dick Gregory." The Chicago Tribune argues he's a "hysterical hybrid of Hunter Thompson and Charles Osgood," although The Washington Post portrays him as "the dark Prince of doubt." All agree Durst is America's premier political comic.

As American as a bottomless cup of coffee, this former Milwaukeean is cherished by critics and audiences alike for the common sense he brings to his surgical skewering of the hype and hypocrisies engulfing us on a daily basis. Busier than a blind squirrel neck deep in an almond sorting warehouse, Durst writes a weekly column, was a contributing editor to both National Lampoon and George magazines and continues to pen frequent contributions to various periodicals such as The New York Times and his hometown San Francisco Chronicle.

This five-time Emmy nominee and host/co-producer of the ongoing award winning PBS series "Livelyhood" is also a regular commentator on NPR and CNN, and has appeared on every comedy show featuring a brick wall including Letterman, Comedy Central, HBO and Showtime, receiving 7 consecutive nominations for the American Comedy Awards Stand Up of the Year. Hobbies include the never-ending search for the perfect cheeseburger, while his heroes remain the same from when he was twelve: Thomas Jefferson and Bugs Bunny.

Look for Will's new book "The All American Sport of Bipartisan Bashing" at bookstores and Amazon.com.

Will Durst's performances and columns are made possible by the First Amendment.