Baby, Don’t Be A Firework Jerk

fireworks in the skyIt was nearly 11 p.m. on a cold (by Florida standards anyway) January night, days past New Year’s Eve in a master-planned, suburban HOA community. Unveiled under the wintery, star-filled night sky was a neighborhood full of disrespect and discontent towards one another. This is a tale that may be familiar to most, as it occurs too often in neighborhoods across suburbia. Ultimately, with a moral of don’t be a firework jerk. 

It was a time when small children were already asleep for the evening. When medical professionals were crawling into bed in hopes of getting rest needed to properly care for their patients. Some families were gathering around their televisions to watch movies or sports in their idyllic homes in their lovely community.

A calm evening for all when suddenly out of the darkness came…

BOOM BOOM BOOM! KAPLOW! KAPLOOEY!! PEW PEW! 

Yes, you guessed it. It was “that guy.” You know, the discourteous neighbor blowing off fireworks days past New Year’s Eve. Not just little sparklers, the really loud and explosive kind.

The kind that says, “I really don’t care that I am a small piece of a larger community and am possibly disrupting everyone’s evening.” 

Now I can digress and discuss how it is against HOA community rules and can be a fire hazard etc. I could talk about how post New Year’s Day firework debris littered the streets all over the neighborhood. But some internet tough guy (or gal) would probably start an argument. 

Anyway, back to my tale of the firework jerk…

A neighbor who was preparing to work a long shift at a hospital caring for sick patients took to the neighborhood social media site, NextDoor, to politely asked for this person to cease their fireworks show.

Others soon followed with their request for this person to stop. I do not think it was an unreasonable ask of their neighbor to stop launching loud explosives in the middle of the community late into the evening. Perhaps the person lost track of time or had a lapse in judgment easily corrected.

Alas…I am wrong. Rumor has it, the firework jerk neighbor pretty much told everyone he didn’t care much for their opinions.

And then came the Internet fireworks. 

The debate began! While fireworks are against HOA community rules, possibly illegal if not for some loopholes in the law, potentially dangerous, and disruptive towards anyone who is not part of their personal pyro show; the typical snarky-tough-guy-on-his-computer posts began.

Pot, Meet Kettle

“Why do people complain about things that I find dumb and stupid to complain about?, ” said Tough Typing Tom, who probably didn’t have to wake early the next day. (I won’t point out it was a complaint about complaining which makes them the same as those he complained about) 

And their buddy Petty Posting Pam asking, “How do people have free time to post complaints, when I actually have free time to post complaints about their complaints!”

This translates loosely to “I don’t have common courtesy towards others in the community. I may be the type of person that doesn’t clean up after their dog and speeds through the neighborhood.” The negative commentary was disappointing to say the least between the petty complaints and the firework jerk.

Sign on the dotted line, please

When you make the decision to move into an HOA community, you sign those rules. This means you agree that though it’s likely you will be different from your neighbors, as a small piece of a larger community, you’ll be courteous and respectful of them. You will act in a civilized manner, realizing the choices you make affect others. Meaning you can’t be the firework jerk.

You sign away the right to indulge freely in all your pyro desires on random late nights. Also, you sign away the right to adorn your sidewalk with dog poop. You sign away the right to choose an old refrigerator as a lawn ornament.

However, you gain a neighborhood that should be well-maintained, clean, not full of litter and poop. A quiet, peaceful haven free from headache-inducing noise. A place where one should feel confident their kids can be outside without someone speeding over them. A place where a small amount of respect for your neighbors goes a long way to create a pleasant living environment for all.

While HOA communities can offer some challenges, the rules are an attempt to maintain a living environment enjoyable for residents.

If this lifestyle is not for you, perhaps choosing an HOA community is a mistake and you may prefer living elsewhere where the same behavior doesn’t label you as the firework jerk. 

Please consider purchasing a home in a less regulated, non-HOA community where you’re not required to adhere to a standard set of rules. There, you’ve not signed away the option to shoot explosives late into the night.

Resolve to be more thoughtful and not a firework jerk

However,  I would make a bet your neighbors there will still ask for you to respect them. A neighborhood is made of random people, many with little in common, aside from the fact that they’ve chosen to live in the same area. Different people with different belief systems who (usually) live peacefully together.

To ensure peace reigns over suburbia, simply to adhere to the golden rule to “do unto others as you would have them do to you.” Be thoughtful about the experiences of those that surround you. Use common sense, be reasonable, mature and courteous. Compromise when needed as it goes towards a harmonious living environment. Life for all will be far better by doing so.

In fact, 2020 will begin soon- make this a resolution!

*names have changed to protect the innocent (or not so innocent)*

Wendy Spiriti
Boymom, wife, daughter, friend and aspiring weather photographer, Wendy moved to Tampa 12 years ago to escape winter in the Northeast…but still see plenty of AL East baseball. It was through her love of the New York Yankees she flirted her way to a first date with the man she’d eventually marry, Mike. Along with a husband, she gained stepson Damon (now 17), who she loves like her own. And, in 2013, completed the family by welcoming the sweetest little boy in the world, Logan. In addition to being surrounded by three handsome guys, Wendy works full time in the corporate world. Somewhere between Mom life and work life she finds time to enjoy fitness, travel, reading, watching too many cooking competition shows and more HGTV than should be allowed. She’s also a self-proclaimed news junkie who loves to stay up to date on current events. A native of Queens, NY, Wendy holds a BA in Journalism from State University of New York at New Paltz.