Nathan Tompkins

Guide to Bad Parenting: Fireworks Safety

Nathan Tompkins’ “Guide to Bad Parenting” continues with tips on how NOT to do 4th of July, or the handling of fireworks.


4th of July is upon us again. This means it is time for those of us who live in the United States of America to celebrate our explosive exit from the United Kingdom. By “celebrate,” I mean we get drunk and scare our beloved pets (and vets) by blowing things up. It is important to be safe when handling incendiary devices such as fireworks, while at the same time having lots of fun with friends, spouses, and kids as you pour gallons of cheap beer and Southern Comfort down your throat.

This guide will ensure a good clean Independence Day celebration without the need of fire trucks, cops, or ambulances.


  1. Teach your kids that it is a tradition to throw hard-boiled eggs at the annual town 4th of July parade, especially at the car carrying the mayor and any other politician.


  1. Never bother reading the instructions; you don’t need the excitement to be dampened by such boring read. Only morons don’t know how to light fireworks, anyway.


  1. Don’t worry about any parents being present when your kids are playing with the fireworks. Just toss them the lot and go back to your alcohol-infused celebration. Chances are they’re the reason you are drinking, anyway.


  1. Don’t bother buying the little crappy tame fireworks from the stands in the Walmart parking lot. Always go for the good stuff at the nearest Native American reservation, and buy lots of good illegal explosives.


  1. Teach your kids to play urban warfare games as they shoot bottle rockets, firecrackers, roman candles, and other fun explosive entertainment devices at each other. You and your drunken friends will be sore for days and weeks from laughing at your monsters scaring the crap out of each other.


  1. Be sure to have lots of saliva handy if you need to extend the timing of the fuse so the M-80 doesn’t blow up in your hand before you throw it at police cars as a joke.


  1. Teach your children valuable science lessons by encouraging them to experiment or attempt to make their own fireworks. It will come in handy if they ever decide to become a guerrilla soldier, terrorist, or demolitions expert. I recommend getting ahold of some Semtex or dynamite. However, if you’re lucky, you may be able to procure some landmines.


  1. If the firework is a dud and you’re out camping, toss it onto the fire. Otherwise, just wrap it up in some newspaper and light it in the middle of the street and watch the fun begin.


  1. Children are never too young to play with fireworks. In fact, the younger, the better. Think of the hours of entertainment you will have watching them have sword fights with sparklers. In the off chance they burn themselves, it will be a life lesson to improve their skill.


  1. One last thing, if you are the designated fireworks person, it is illegal to handle these little beguiling incendiary devices while sober. Large quantities of alcohol are recommended. However, for the best effect, I recommend four hits of acid, five joints, and half a fifth of whiskey, before attempting to light the fuses of fun.


I trust you have found my tips very helpful and follow them at your own risk.





Nathan Tompkins

Nathan Tompkins is a writer living in a small town just north of Portland, Oregon, though his heart will always be walking along the Kootenai River in his native North Idaho. His work has appeared in many publications including NonBinary Review. He is the author of four chapbooks, but his beautiful Australian daughter is his finest accomplishment.

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