Fourth of July can be a tricky day for much of the United States. There are millions of Americans who continue to be left out of the promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Meanwhile, there are also millions who would rather not hear about that and instead go LARP as a badass active-duty Marine when they go to buy strawberries and hotdog buns at Walmart.
As anyone with a star-spangled heart knows, nothing says “I respect this country and its laws” like buying illegal fireworks and setting them off without a permit. As such, patriotism can be measured by how many fingers someone has lost by doing just that. It’s basically like Boy Scout badges, except instead of receiving patches, people lose body parts.
The Beet had the opportunity to catch up with one such patriot in Roxbury, WI on July 3.
Brett Ringlesteadt, a 43-year-old plumber, holds annual parties at his family’s 230-acre farm. However, Ringlesteadt is known for more than a mean cornhole victory streak and serving wildly overcooked hamburgers on a sweltering hot July day. He’s renowned for something much more important — in the last three years, he has lost four fingers in fireworks accidents.
“Nobody wants to have their fingers violently blown off, but what’s the alternative — following safety guidelines set forth by the government? Hell no,” remarked the man with a Ted Cruz Facebook cover photo.
“The last couple of weeks have shown me that there’s so much to be grateful for in this country,” chuckled the divorced father of three. “I couldn’t ask for a better place to live than somewhere I don’t need any particular reason to carry a semiautomatic rifle around town and women can’t go running to the damn doctor every time their boyfriend horses around too much.”
It’s unclear whether he was supporting sexual assault or just garden-variety physical abuse.
The aficionado of rarely-washed t-shirts cannot promise that his remaining digits are here to stay.
“When there’s so much to celebrate, I can’t guarantee that I won’t take full advantage of the healthcare I get through the plumbers union,” said Ringlesteadt, who only votes for union busting politicians.
“If I’m not getting rowdy to the point that I have to ask Jesus for forgiveness in the morning, then I’m not a red-blooded American,” beamed the guy who has never given a genuine apology to another human being in his entire life.
Not everyone is as gung-ho about the Fourth of July as Ringlesteadt. All emotions tied to the holiday aside, there’s still something for everyone. Most notably, the traditional Old Navy Fourth of July sale. The Beet hopes that all Americans bought themselves some $12 jorts, got some hot dogs on sale at Piggly Wiggly and have themselves a day.