Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Saturday. In the park. I think it was the 4th of July.

On July 4th I had a plan. An Independence Day agenda. 

Waking early to set things in motion, I kicked off the festivities with my usual East River run. From there I devoured some ever-satisfying Halal, picked up a bottle of Charles Shaw and then I made my first mistake of the day. 

I bought a game called Scatch. 

No, that's not a disease. You know the game! It's the two player summer fad where each person is equipped with hand paddles covered in Velcro. A ball is thrown. Yadda yadda yadda. (You're shaking your head in agreement). THAT game.  

Fast forward four hours. We're in Sheep Meadow in Central Park, sweating the day away beneath a towering elm. It's picturesque America and things are great. That is, until we decide to break out Scatch. Within five throws back and forth the game has busted. Obliterated. Destroyed. Fragments of green and purple plastic litter the grass. Somewhere overseas a sweatshop laborer was laughing hysterically. 

I couldn't believe it! I had been duped. Swindled and tricked. My $8.70 of hard-earned cash down the drain. To console ourselves, we decided to find Mr. Shaw and take shelter from the sun. That's when our next first-world problem occurred. 

The bottle opener broke off in the cork.

What do rational educated college students do when the cork won't come out? We hit the bottom of the bottle against the ground in the hopes the cork will dislodge. No such luck. We're eventually saved by a group of 30 somethings who came prepared with the industrial version.

If my Fourth of July misadventures seem trivial to you, that's probably because they are. I returned the game to Duane Reade for a refund. The wine was eventually opened. 

Where was my perspective on a day that is supposed to be about America, about celebrating our country and honoring those who sacrifice to make our nation great? 

This fourth, my brother Joseph is a New Cadet at the United States Military Academy, one of 1,200 arrivals to the Long Grey Line. This fourth, my sister Louisa is days away from her departure to Afghanistan, where she will continue to serve as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army. 68,000 US troops are still deployed in the country. This fourth, my eldest sister Magdalena is working as a volunteer in a Kenyan refugee camp.

So put your worries aside. Don't worry about Scatch or that faulty little cork still buried in your Charles Shaw. Remember your family and what's important to you on a day like the Fourth of July. It's America's day. Not yours.

By: Carlos Anchondo, Trinity University, Sports Illustrated
Edited by: Morgan Grain, Florida A&M University, InStyle

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