Brit Kicking 2002: How it almost became Natnl. Shoot a Brit with a Flare Gun Week
Earlier this week I talked about National Kick a Brit in the Nuts Week and the accessories that people have invented over the years to compliment your celebration. But not every innovation becomes famous, and not every intention is pure. Today, I have a tale for you of an accessory that failed and the story of how it almost became National Shoot a Brit with a Flare Gun Week.
Our story begins shortly after the Civil War. America, once again re-united and under a strong government was treading down the path that would lead to the prosperity and greatness of the early 20th century. Inventions were cropping up left and right, showing off the ingenuity of the American spirit. If you remember, the book The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells even speculated that man would be close to breaking the bonds of time in the near future. Before that however, many lesser things were produced, one of them the flare gun. With the war over and nothing but clear sailing in the apparant future, a purpose for the flare gun had yet to be found. It shot fire yes, but not the type of fire that could be used in battle, more like a warning shot. It was non-lethal but painful to be shot, but had short range. The flare gun's makers hadn't really nailed down what they wanted to do with it, just that they wanted a cheap way to shoot something that blew up.
Around this time, National Kick a Brit in the Nuts Week was still in the mainstream. The boot bat was making waves and lots of hair-brained immitators followed afterwards. It wasn't too long though, before a man named Jeffery Watkins Bernard had an idea that he thought would make him borth rich and famous. The son of a wealthy family, Jeffery took it upon himself to meet with several lawmakers in Washington about his idea, which would require some minor changes to the law. Eventually he was granted audience before the Senate to speak his proposal.
Jeffery's proposal was this: National Kick a Brit in the Nuts Week is a great holiday and is fun for everyone. It's true to our heritage and lets us remember how we were victorious in our war for independance. There's a better way to celebrate, however, and that is by using the flare gun. Much like the line in our national anthem, people will be delighted to see the rocket's red glare bouncing off their British targets. At the same time, it is a non-lethal weapon, and won't be viewed in such a humiliating way by the British lobbyists against the holiday that we have now.
Jeffery's audience was impressed. They were all given a flare gun to test out it's workings on their own time and they all seemed to really like the ideas that he proposed. They declared recess and began to think what National Shoot a Brit with a Flare Gun Week would be like. Truly, the flare gun was an enjoyable toy, and it produced the red glare Mr. Bernard had mentionned. There was dissent against the idea, though. The senators from Delaware, both republican opposed the idea, and suggested that more thought be given before our heritage changed so drasticly. The motion passed and an investigation commitee was sent to look into the danger involved with flares and other matters surrounding the change.
What they found out was not what they were looking for. Looking into Jeffery's past and present dealings, they found that the Bernards were key suppliers of ingredients that produced the flares themselves. Not only that but they were also partial holders in the companies that made the flare guns. Should the guns become popular, the Bernards stood to gain considerable amounts of money and even possibly hold a monopoly on the industry. Investigating further, they found that Jeffery Watkins Bernard himself was one quarter British, falling just shy of the 30% rule (Which states, those who are 30% or more of British descent, may be freely kicked on the week following the third Monday of August each year as part of our beloved holiday). The possibility of a nearly British family controlling all the resources needed to celebrate the season was too much to bear. The Senate voted nearly unanimously against the proposal and kicking brits as we know it was saved.
That July shortly after Independance Day, Jeffery Watkins Bernard married to Elizabeth Cunningham. Ms. Cunningham herself was over 50% British in descent, which would mean that the Bernard family would have eligable Brits in their family when they had children. That August, Jeffery was called before the Senate to discuss his idea. He said he was honored to be called in during the holiday for the discussion, little did he know he was in for a treat. After granting him honorary Brit-hood, each and every member of the Senate gave Jeffery Bernard a holiday kick in the nuts. Now that is a patriotic gesture.