I don't really care how my television works. Could be magic for all I know. I just want it to work when the game comes on.
In much the same way, I'm sure few of you care a whole lot about the inner workings of a newspaper, just as long as it shows up on your driveway. But I will tell you one little secret: We work some really odd hours.
We work when news happens. Might be early, might be late. Might be the weekend, might be a holiday. Usually, it's all of those. To get the paper to you early in the morning, we work late the night before, every night.
People are always amazed about the holidays, too: "You have to work on Christmas?" I always answer, "Do you get a paper on Dec. 26? Then someone had to work on the 25th."
We trade around and work out deals for other time off, etc., but someone always works holidays. For years, I got stuck working on Independence Day.
I don't have a lot of luck on Independence Day anyway. I'll spare you the details, but trust me, the Fourth of July has often been fraught with trouble. Being stuck at work half the time never helped.
But the one nice thing about all those Fourths when I was sitting in front of my computer instead of on a blanket somewhere with a belly full of barbecue was Gwinnett Glows. My window at the Daily Post gave me an excellent view of the county's annual fireworks show, and every Fourth I always made sure to get enough work done early so that I could take a few minutes and watch the fireworks after the sun went down.
I didn't have to fight traffic either. Or bugs. Or heat. To the see the show, all I had to do was turn my head, and there would be a bright spot (forgive the pun) in an otherwise cruddy evening.
But no more. As you probably know by now, Gwinnett Glows fell victim to the budget ax this year. As the county struggles to pay its bills without raising taxes on all its residents who are struggling to pay theirs, some things had to go, so on the chopping block Gwinnett Glows went.
Gwinnett is not alone. Our sister paper in Covington is among those who've had to report similar news in their towns. No one wants to do it, but losing the shows is a no-brainer when it comes to balancing a budget. It's awfully hard to look a county employee who just lost his job in the face and say, "Why don't you come on down and watch many thousands of dollars go up in smoke, literally?"
So I know why the show has to go, but it doesn't make it any less sad. And I know there are plenty of other shows still going on, but my favorite is gone, for now anyway.
The irony is not lost on me, either. This year, on the day when we celebrate our independence as a nation, these silenced shows offer us a grim reminder that financially most of us are pretty doggone far from free. Financially, our country is bound by chains that are proving right hard to break.
Somehow, after a string of eight Fourths, I got last year's and this one's off. Last year, my only lament was missing the show. This year, there's no show to lament.
Hopefully, by the time it's my turn again, the chains will be broken and the money and jobs will be back.
Then maybe Gwinnett can glow again.
E-mail Nate McCullough at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears on Fridays.