This very Monday is one of the national holidays that seems to lose more of its shine every year: July 4th. Though it’s conception is meant to celebrate the conception of our own country, it’s certainly passed beyond any sort of historical connection and much more into just the loudest, most obnoxious and full-throated celebration of the idea of capital M ‘Murca. An unavoidable side effect of getting to a point where even just hearing the word “patriotism” raises an eyebrow and questions about someone’s location on January 6th.

This weekend specifically feels hard to get the ick off the idea of breaking out your wardrobe’s finest red white and blue, and the idea of someone wearing an american flag bikini this weekend feels like a bad metaphor from a “makes you think” Instagram account. The problem is, though, even as the government releases its bowels uncontrollably in our general area, making it, for many of us, not something we particularly want to celebrate, that goes at odds with another need. The need, after all that’s just happened and been decided for us, to have an excuse to get allowedly, deeply, shatteringly drunk. I may not be feeling particularly positive about the Founding Fathers right now but I am feeling quite positive that crushing a six-pack at three in the afternoon without anyone giving me a second glance would be very helpful in general.

To help with navigating these mental gymnastics at tomorrow’s barbecues, here are 5 tips on how to distract yourself from thinking about what you’re ACTUALLY celebrating.

Become Overly Invested In The Grilling Procedure

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“More of a propane guy myself.”

For a cooking method as primitive as put meat on fire, grilling has an insane amount of opinions involved in its correct execution. Chances are, whatever barbecue you go to will have a self-appointed Grillmaster. It could be the host, someone’s college roommate, or just someone who’s so insistent on the job that everyone gives up and lets them cook hamburgers in a way that takes twice as long as normal. Even though grilling a hamburger involves maybe 3 physical movements total, I can almost guarantee you there is a borderline academic white paper stored in the Grillmaster’s head about exactly how best to stare at the grill, sip a beer, and say “almost time to flip” every 25 seconds.

That extensive and wholly unnecessary mind palace of information can have a great purpose this July 4th, however. With a gentle sidling up grillside and a couple of innocent questions, you can release the floodgates of Grill Theory directly into your brain with such volume and ferocity you won’t be able to think about the Supreme Court or the gutting of the EPA. Just the simple question of “charcoal or gas” can occupy at least 30 minutes during which you have to consider nothing happening in the world.

Spend 20 Minutes Deciding What Flavor Alcoholic Seltzer You Want

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They all taste 95% like seltzer.

So you’re well on your way to failing a breathalyzer, making your way back to the red Igloo cooler, when suddenly, a piece of the mental armor you’ve tried to build around your brain fails. Suddenly, thoughts of inflation and a possible impending housing market collapse are flooding in like Miller Lite down a beer bong. You have only minutes before full existential dread sets in if you don’t occupy your brain otherwise.

Lucky for you, there is a savior: the variety pack of flavored seltzer that was dumped in this cooler at the beginning of the afternoon. Like giving a child a set of shiny keys, you can desperately thrust a decision to be made at the gray matter soaking in your head. Do I go for Mango? Raspberry? Watermelon does feel like a thematic choice for the holiday, but you JUST drank one of those, and you’re not really sure you want another. There’s some new weird flavor in there that they’re clearly testing the market on. Strawberry banana? I mean, I like that in a smoothie, but it might be weird without the texture. Bananas and bubbles seem like a bad combo. And if I don’t like it I either have to struggle through or stealthily abandon it on a table and hope no one asks whose it is. See? That right there is plenty of thoughts that Clarence Thomas has nothing to do with.

Offer To Find More Chairs

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“Be Right Back!” - me, lying

It’s impossible for me to know exactly what your barbecue of choice will look like. I have no earthly way of predicting the dimensions, the exact location, the total attendance, these details are as varied as the path of leaves on the wind. There is, however, one thing I can guarantee you, and that is that no matter WHAT barbecue you are at, there are not going to be enough chairs.

This is absolutely perfect, because you get to do something that not only occupies your mind, but makes you seem helpful while dissociating. Now, after being directed to the garage/apartment/house of the barbecue’s host, you can just wander around and snoop, with the alibi of looking for a chair that’s not too inconvenient to bring outside, but also not too nice to take into the backyard. This should give you, at minimum, a good 20 minutes to stand in front of someone’s bookshelf, reading 5-10 pages of a bunch of different books before anyone realizes you haven’t come back yet. Once you’ve regained mental energy, just come back out either with the closest chair to the door, or just say “I wasn’t sure which ones you were cool with me taking outside.”

Let Fireworks Activate Your Lizard Brain

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Tiny sun burning in hand!

When fireworks happen, that is one guaranteed respite that you’ll have. Bright flashing colorful lights have had the power to derail the human brain since the first caveman thought about covering up his penis. Just look at the beautiful flowers in the sky, Lenny.

Drink 7 IPAs And Fall Asleep On Your Friend’s Couch

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Smell ya later, consciousness!

If you feel like you’re done for the day, and the above tips have run dry, uncork a couple of every asshole’s favorite 8% beers, which, don’t worry, will DEFINITELY still be sitting in the cooler untouched late in the day. When your head starts to feel warm, wander in through the glass door (open it first!) and conk out on an unguarded sofa. Sure, you might get a few instagram stories posted of you, but that’s a small price to pay for an hour or two of blissful, sweet, dark silence.

Top Image: Pixabay/Pixabay

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