10 Things ‘Independence Day’ Taught Me About Independence Day

Ah, Independence Day: The day on which we burn food items to a crisp, dress in only three colors, and set fire to a bunch of explosives, all in the name of celebrating the day a bunch of long-dead dudes signed a piece of very important paper. Incidentally, it’s also the day on which, in 1996, aliens descended upon the Earth and attempted to destroy it. Happily, they failed, thanks to the ingenuity of a few resourceful humans; and now we can use the day to celebrate not one, but two forms of independence. Hoorah!

I was 11 when Independence Day came out, and as you might imagine, I was a rather impressionable child. It seemed to me that there was more to take away from this Hollywood blockbuster than simple entertainment. I studied it carefully, and under its tutelage, I discovered a number of valuable lessons about the true meaning of this national holiday. In honor of 4th of July weekend, I have decided to share my findings with you, Gentle Readers; here are the 10 things Independence Day taught me about Independence Day:

1) Revolt! This is the entire reason this holiday exists, is it not?

2) Get out of any major cities. Naturally, highly populated areas are going to be a prime target in the event of attack. Besides, wouldn’t you rather spend Independence Day in the mountains or by the ocean or something? July 4th is an excellent day to get out of town and head for somewhere relaxing.

3) Pack sunscreen. Just because it’s a holiday doesn’t mean you can get lax about skin protection. Always remember to guard yourself against harmful UV rays and those weird alien energy weapon things.

4) Running does not equal freedom. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a time and a place for cardio; however, an alien invasion on the 4th of July is not one of them. Fancy trying to outrun those massive attack ships? Yeah, me neither. Don’t bother with a Segue either, because let’s face it, Segues are easily outstripped by passing butterflies. Your best bet is to find something fast and easily maneuverable, then drive it as quickly as you can in the other direction. THAT, my friends, is freedom.

5) Stick with Will Smith. Between ID4 and Men in Black, he’s got the market cornered on alien-related 4th of July movies. Odds are, he’ll know what to do.

6) Bring the dog. Pets are great. They provide companionship, they’re fun to play with, and if you need to evacuate the area immediately, they’ll make sure you survive. After all, pet owners have in fact been proven to live longer lives than non-pet owners.

7) Celebrate your hobbies. National holidays are like lovely little presents someone surprises you with just because you’re awesome. This 4th of July, why not devote some of that bonus time off to that new hobby you’ve been dabbling in? Because really, you never know when you’re going to have to infect an alien ship with a killer computer virus or plant a nuclear device in an unexpected place.

8) Stay away from Area 51. This is probably a pretty good rule to live by in general, but it’s especially applicable around the beginning of July. It would be a terrible thing to become the victim of a psychic attack from an alien everyone thought was mostly dead, especially on a day when you should be grilling things and eating popsicles.

9) The Brits can’t save you. Did you know that there was a spin-off radio show broadcast on BBC Radio 1 in August of 2006? Neither did I, but apparently there was. Independence Day producer Dean Devlin gave writer Dirk Maggs permission to produce a radio show portraying the events of the movie from a British perspective, provided that a) he kept certain details of the movie’s plot hush-hush, and b) the Brits didn’t save the day. It’s probably coincidental, but I find it amusing, given the fact that the actual holiday celebrates the day the U.S. declared itself free from British rule.

10) Blowing things up is an excellent way to celebrate. Fireworks, aliens, alien motherships… they all explode under the right circumstances, and gee, don’t they look pretty while they’re doing it! You might want to leave it to the professionals, though; it would sort of suck to get injured and/or arrested on this day of days.

You can reach this post's author, Lucia Peters, on twitter.
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