Tell Us About Your Messiest 4th of July

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I consider the 4th of July to be the Super Bowl of American holidays, in that everyone is drunk and dumb, grown men tend to get injured, and I can’t wait for it to be over. The main difference is that there isn’t a half-time show where Shakira shows us how it’s done. And because the 4th of July is on Saturday this year, I expect the festivities to fully ignore the ongoing covid-19 pandemic. It will be a nightmare, and you can tell us all about what went down next week, if you so please. Until then, I want to know about your messiest 4th of July celebrations. Did you get arrested? Did your Uncle Earl? Did he blow off a pinkie trying to shoot a bottle rocket? Did you manage to avoid the regular activities and still engage in some sort of petit disaster? Please, I must know in the comments below.


But first, let’s check out last week’s winners. These are your most disastrous summer vacations:

Maria-Poppins, this truly sucks:

My family never went on vacations but I spent many a summer and Christmas in the motherland with my grandma. The summer I turned 11 she and a gaggle of female relatives decided to go to Cancun/Isla Mujeres. She invited me and my best friend at the time. We were beyond excited. About a week before the trip I notice a weird pus bubble on my chest and showed my parents. Turns out one of my siblings brought home the chicken pox. I am about 7 years older than they so their symptoms came and went. My trip was immediately canceled (my poor friend) and my life ruined for about 3 weeks. Turns out, those assholes (my parents, God love them) purposely kept me from getting the virus when I was younger but had no idea how much worse it is for you as you get older. They were EVERYWHERE. My scalp, my face, behind my knees, my fact I couldn’t sit on the toilet without popping one. Oatmeal baths and reclining in a dark room became my routine. I was so depressed and embarrassed. Towards the end, my friend came with flowers and did her best to not look horrified when I came out of my room all ghost-like and covered in half deflated pus spots. I’m glad there is a vaccine for it now bc no child should have to go through that. It was almost 25 years ago and I still call my parents out on it.


ProudHamerican, I’m including your story because this is a mundane disaster, one so many of us can relate to:

My mom and dad thought it would be fun to schedule our time in Old Forge for a couple nights and then “wing it” the final two nights. Except that it was August, in the Adirondacks, and we were three tweens in a minivan with air conditioning that didn’t work, and we kept driving up to hotels with “No Vacancy” signs on them. We drove around New York State (down from Old Forge, near Howe’s caverns, through Cooperstown, etc.) for eight hours until we found a hotel with a vacancy. We finally landed at a motel near Magic Forest but not before we almost killed one another.

sunshine bear in a world of grey, this is a nightmare:

One school holidays, we were out in the boat at the islands. Did my usual sunscreen before swimming and playing, and everything is grand. Mam calls us out of the water for lunch, then reminds me to ‘screen up again before going back in the water. Y’all. The sunscreen reacted somehow, and BOILED the skin on my shoulders. We thought it was just a bad sunburn at first, but the trip to the local (Rural) hospital, followed by an ambulance ride to a city hospital 160km away confirmed 2nd and 3rd degree burns. That was over 20 years ago and there is still light scarring on my shoulders.

Worst Christmas break ever.

Seabassy, I’m only including this story because your fellow Pissing Contest loyalists seem to love it. I, for one, cannot stand for Whataburger slander:

On a road trip from the great white north down to Texas, my family of 4 stopped at a Whataburger for dinner after waiting at a family-style restaurant to be served, and instead ignored, for 45 minutes. My parents are brown and my sibling and I are white-passing — we were in northern Texas and it was one of my first tastes of outright discrimination.

Anyway, we ate the Whataburger and checked into our cheap motel, where all 4 of us shared a room. Around 2 a.m. my sister wakes us with the sound of violent vomiting. My guts start to hurt, too, but I try to hold it to no avail. My illness is out the backend, and I didn’t make it to the bathroom. My parents spring up and try to help my barfing sister while I shit my pants, and THEY start hurling. Four people, 1 toilet, 1 tub/shower, 1 sink.

We make a big ole stinky humiliating mess and try to clean up after ourselves between heaves. Then the power goes out around 4 a.m. My dad opens the door for fresh air and to look outside and it is pitch black as far as the eye could see.

He said something about the devil being in north Texas and it is time to leave. My parents left every piece of cash and change they had on them for the housekeeping, knowing the mess they were leaving behind. Instead of going to our intended destination to see family in south Texas, we headed back north.

This is a prized family story we tell at gatherings, but no one seems to appreciate it as much as the 4 of us.


Horrify your fellow commenters below.

Senior Writer, Jezebel. My debut book, LARGER THAN LIFE: A History of Boy Bands, is out now.

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The High Woman In The Castle

Let me start off by saying my ex is a moron.

He invites me to his parent’s lake house for the 4th. This was my second time meeting them and my first time there. That’s all the information I had so I packed clothes for the weekend.

Turns out they had a boat, waterskis, jet skis, etc. I had never seen this lake let alone knew people went swimming in it. Ex never told me to bring a swimsuit so I didn’t have one. “Oh oops. I’ve never brought someone home so I didn’t think about it.” Okay then but he brought one. I had to watch everyone do all the water stuff because the closest Target was an hour away. No big, right?

I thought this was going to be the four of us. Again Ex left out vital information. This was an entire family reunion. At least 30 people were there so we got stuck on the pullout. Okay that’s fine. I wasn’t prepared to not have a room to ourselves. I was awakened frequently, and we never had privacy.

But the worst part is Ex didn’t introduce me to anyone. It was bad enough that I wasn’t expecting to meet a small village, but he completely forgot I was here. I had to awkwardly introduce myself. They clearly had no idea who I was either. I kept getting the up and down look like a party crasher. (Fun fact: my husband and in-laws also do not introduce me to people. Is this not a common trait?) To this day, I don’t think Ex told anyone I was coming.

The whole time these 30 people talked about events, places, people, and inside jokes. I had to sit there and smile awkwardly while Ex was deeply engaged in reminiscing with a cousin who asked me my name at least three times. I clearly didn’t belong there.

When we went to say goodbye, they all said goodbye to Ex. I was completely invisible. Also none of them knew my name so while I had to answer to “hey you,” you can’t use that as a goodbye.

The weekend ended with serious food poisoning. My shit was literally black.

Aside from that, Ex had no idea that anything was wrong. I had to explain to him how I felt very slowly and clearly. He really didn’t understand why I didn’t have a good time. Probably still doesn’t today!