I believe I have mentioned my late father’s robust approach to cautionary tales.
When I was a kid, he would tell stories about life in his little hometown at the southern tip of Lake Champlain in New York.
These accounts from his childhood would inevitably involve boys taking risks – boys just about my age, as it happened.
And whether the stories were about fooling around with firearms or literally skating on thin ice, someone always died.
So let that be a lesson to you.
I don’t know how old I was when it finally dawned on me that my dad’s village would have been virtually depopulated of young males if all those stories had been true. But I survived childhood, so I didn’t begrudge him his right to take a few liberties in the service of parental guidance.
In fact, I sort of think he might have been on to something. So here’s my suggestion.
If you have children or grandchildren who might horse around with fireworks on Independence Day, pull them aside and have a little talk.
Tell them about the kid you knew who held on to an M-80 just a fraction of a second too long. And died.
Or you might want to casually recall the time a couple of boys back where you grew up decided it would be cool to fire bottle rockets at one another. And how they paid with their young lives.
If your audience is suitably wide-eyed, you might even recount the time seemingly innocent sparklers led to death and destruction. Or you could tell about that sad day when a string of firecrackers accidentally got wrapped around the neck of one poor boy who, well, you can probably guess how that ended.
OK, maybe the kids in your family aren’t as gullible as I was. Perhaps they would roll their eyes and mumble “Right.”
But Fourth of July accidents really do happen. So you need to say something.
Sure, warning kids might involve marching into some withering attitude. But it won’t kill you to try.
Slice search: I’m looking for local people who were born on Aug. 3, 1992. Thanks for any and all leads.
Today’s Slice summer rerun question: If, like Hawaii, every state had a signature style of apparel, what would a Washington shirt or Idaho shirt be like?