This isn’t a particularly exciting holiday tale. It doesn’t involve an abominable snowman, or misfit toys, or an elf that wants to be a dentist.
It is just a simple story about something that happened on one dark and unassuming 4th of July night many years ago.
A night that I will never forget for the rest of my life.
A few years ago, I used to live in an apartment building at the foot of the Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles. There was nothing really special about the place, but it did have one cool feature: There was a patio on the roof that you could access to relax in the sun, barbeque, or, in my case, play board games with friends.
On July 4th, though, this rooftop patio turned into the place to be. Because it was on an elevated spot in the city, you could see for miles in all directions — from the skyline of downtown to the beaches of Santa Monica. When it got dark and the fireworks started, you would literally be surrounded by hundreds of colorful and, frankly, magical explosions.
It was a pretty amazing experience.
On one particular 4th of July night, my friends and I went to the rooftop like we always did. We brought some stuff to drink and sat back in the patio lounge chairs, ready to have an incredibly great night.
As the sun went down, others from the building started to join us. Even the rooftops of nearby buildings were starting to fill up. It was turning into quite the fun rooftop block party.
After the first firework, everyone became silent. We all stared in awe as the bright orange and red colors burst into the surprisingly clear sky.
Suddenly more fireworks began to go off, followed by more, and more, and more! Before long, fireworks were exploding from every single angle.
As the night went on, the spectacle of it all only got more impressive. People were laughing and smiling, not believing what they were seeing.
Then it started.
Almost in perfect unison, the grand finales of all the firework displays began at the exact same time.
If you know firework finales, you know that they are the most insanely awesome part of the show. Bursts of color and sound seem to never end, as all the remaining fireworks are lit, one after the other.
Now try to imagine this happening with dozens and dozens of finales at the same time, all surrounding you at once.
Needless to say, it felt like the world was coming to an end, one fabulous color explosion at a time.
During the craziness, my friends and I looked at one another, speechless. It truly felt like we were caught in the middle of a war zone. A very happy, exuberant war zone, but a war zone nonetheless.
All of sudden, amidst the beautiful chaos, it happened.
Someone from another rooftop yelled something at the top of their lungs.
“IT’S THE DAY OF LAVOS!”
I couldn’t believe what I heard. Did he just … ? Did he just scream … ? YES, he did! He just yelled “IT’S THE DAY OF LAVOS!” in the middle of this out of control fireworks display.
This man was my hero.
And, boy, was he accurate. It really was the Day of Lavos. If anyone has played Chrono Trigger and reached the part when Lavos destroys the planet … well, this night wasn’t too far off.
Once I realized what this … this amazing guy said, I lost it. I started laughing and gasping and smiling from ear to ear.
Anyone that would think to shout that phrase — and so loud, mind you — was officially about to become my new best friend.
But I had no idea what roof the guy was standing on. I knew it had to be close, but Los Angeles is a pretty big city, and there were many nearby buildings to choose from. I had no idea who said it or where it was even coming from.
I would never figure out who screamed that now legendary phrase. Dammit, I thought, there goes our Crono and Lucca BFF bracelets I already had picked out in my mind.
Accepting I would never find him, I just smiled and enjoyed the rest of the show, content with knowing that someone that cool lives in the same neighborhood as me.
As the fireworks came to a close, I knew that I would never forget this moment for as long as I live. It was just so cool … and special … and absolutely perfect.
To this day, I still have no idea who yelled “IT’S THE DAY OF LAVOS!” from that rooftop.
If you are reading this, Lavos dude (my forever nickname for him), please know that I think you are awesome. Really awesome. Even though I have no idea who you are, you are responsible for one of my greatest videogame memories. I think about you every 4th of July.
If I ever get the pleasure of meeting you, I will have a high-five ready.