Friday, August 29, 2008
Recently the topic of Heroes popped up on my inner radar. Maybe it was the buzz of the conventions. Maybe it is all the ads and trailers some network is bombarding us with for the returning series about people with odd abilities who save the planet from some evil something or other. Maybe it was Toklas23's post about one of her heroes passing recently. And certainly Dawn's fine tribute to Ted Kennedy had some influence.
Heroes are an odd bunch. Some of them deserve the moniker. Some of them don't. Some heroes are fabricated. Many heroes go unnoticed. There are heroes for a day or a minute. There are heroes who live heroically for a lifetime. I would guess each one of us has done something heroic, even if we did not notice it.
I once stopped a runaway truck in a parking lot just before it hit the cab of another truck with the driver inside doing his logs. I had to run along side of the truck, jump in while it was moving and pull the emergency air brake plunger. Banged my knee so hard on the steering wheel, the swelling did not go down for weeks. I got out and continued backing my rig into the dock. It was a week later when my dispatcher approached me about it. No big deal for me, but they made it into one. Damn embarrassing. I have pulled some folks out of the water before. No big deal. It needed doing. Besides, it was my job as a lifeguard. I had a grown young man approach me a few years back and thank me for getting him into cycling. He contended that if not for his involvement in the sport as a 15 year old, he might have not made it past high school and ended up like his buddies. Meth heads and no job losers.
Was I a hero? I didn't and still don't think I was. I saw emergencies and bad situations and I dealt with them the best I could. I honestly do not feel I should be held up as a standard for anyone. I figure I still owe some good deeds for the years I was such an idiot back in my druggie days. And I will never be able to rise to the level of the heroes I have created in my own mind. They rock and will always make me humble.
But this is not about me. Okay, okay. Some it it was. But definitely not my main point.
Heroes are not really people. Heroes are conceptual renditions we form about a person. The criteria we use is sometimes universally accepted like the heroes who charged into the Towers to try and save people on 9-11. But most heroes become heroes based on internal triggers we create for ourselves. How they affected us as individuals in my opinion is a type of hero. The people who influenced our lives and helped us become better people. They could be fictional or real. It does not matter. A hero can be just someone who makes you feel better for having them in your life. My mom and dad would rate up there. My wife and daughter certainly. But me, no way.