Good news, psychologically unbalanced comedy fans!
One of the loudest, scariest American holidays is finally here– the Fourth of July! If you’re fortunate enough to live in Chicago’s Austin, Auburn Gresham, Belmont Cragin, Humboldt Part, Grand Crossing, Englewood, Logan Square, and many more(!!) neighborhoods— or in East and/or South Central LA, you’ll find yourself playing a game a lot this week called:
“HOLY SHIT!!! Was that fireworks? Or was that gunshots?????”
Here’s how to tell if you should go outside to ooh and aaahhh… or if you should take cover in your panic room.
If you hear a series of pop-pop-pops:
Guess what? That’s a gun! What to you may seem like really loud Jiffy Pop popping is actually coming from a small pistol, like a Walther PPK. Menacing? Not really. Powerful? Yes. Strong enough to shoot through most walls. Move your chips and guac inside and wait it out before putting the kebabs on the grill.
If it sounds like a tire getting blown out:
It’s mos def being done by the 9mm Glockmeister, or “Glock” as trained police officers and any hip hop artist post-NWA refer to it. A shot outta this guy resonates with a quick crack and a burst that you could make you hit the floor faster than my dad hitting the ground for loose change.
If it sounds like 30 seconds of rapid-fire cracks:
A pack of M80s? Nope. And let’s hope you’re not on the business end of what’s making the ruckus, which is a Soviet-Made Cuban AK-47! After making its debut in WWII, the AK-47 was resurrected during the Iran-Contra Affair and is a player’s fave among Bloods and Crips. What’s interesting is that the sound of an M80 is strikingly similar to that of the AK… except that M80s last for all of 10 seconds when set off. Either way, you might as well stay away from the windows.
If you hear a rocket shoot off into the air and then a streaking sound that ends in a thunderous boom:
Nope, don’t even try to say it. You just heard an RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) going off . Come to think of it, it was a SAM (surface-to-air missile). Aah… wait, wait— I got it. It’s actually called a GTAM (ground-to-air missile)! Yup, that’s it! These guys are LOUD, but cool to watch! (Unless you live on a floor that is the same level of the explosive impact, then it’s not so fun. And prepare for your place to shake and for stuff to fall.)
And if you hear nothing at all?
Then it’s probably just someone playing with sparklers! Yay!! Or someone’s just reloading.
Rich Alfonso has toured with The Second City aboard the NCL Gem and was a recipient of the 2016 Bob Curry Fellowship. In addition to completing the Severn Darden Graduate Program (HouseCo), Rich has also performed with Heraldo at iO, Daddy at The Playground Theater, Second City’s Urban Twist and all over Chicago with his independent teams Shanna’s Mom and Spic and Tan.