A Hero for Just One Day

heroDo you want to know what I hate the most? What I hate more than deviled egg casserole and Hawaiian pizza put together? American heroes. I can’t stand American heroes. Why do I have such adverse feelings toward men and women who perform heroic actions?

Because most American heroes are jerks.

That’s right, jerks! From the valorous Paul Revere to the wicked piloting wherewithal of Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, and every noble hero in between, they are all jerks, the entire lot of them.

My intense displeasure with so-called heroes, both past and present, is their affluent reluctance to consider themselves anything of the sort. I am talking about men who risk life and women who risk limbs, but who go around denouncing they are true heroes.

Webster’s definition of a hero is an individual admired for his or her achievements, noble qualities and courage. Someone who risks their own life to save the life of another, that’s hero material. Why is it even up for debate? You’re a freaking hero, graciously accept the title and move on. Take a compliment, you dense moron.

This false sense of modesty exhibited by American heroes these days is enough to gag a maggot. Every single day that passes there is a new media account of some selfless person throwing themselves into a dangerous situation and saving the day.

Man walks into business only to find it being robbed, the cashier bound and gagged. Man charges robber, steals gun, pistol-whips suspects and later fires a shot to subdue the criminal. But this guy, he’s no hero, right? Because the last thing a hero would do would be assaulting an armed drug addict waving a gun in the air when he could just as easily turn around and walk away.

Take a gander at what yours truly would do in that situation. You think I’m going to stick around for long? You think I am (or could) wrestle a gun away from a crack head with quick cash and sexual deviancy on the mind? No, I’m running. That’s what cowards do. I’m not afraid to admit that I’m a coward.

I think the most annoying heroes are the ones that say they were “just doing their job.” Look, everybody works with a “just doing their job” guy. “Just doing their job guy” does a couple of “just doing their job guy” kinds of things. None of them, however, involve landing passenger aircraft on bodies of water while single-handedly outsmarting technology, modern-day engineering and gravity. Those, my friends, are the actions of a hero.

Yet these weak-kneed heroes like the aforementioned Capt. Sullenberger go on national television, look me straight in the eyes and lie directly to my coward face. “I’m not hero,” they say.

It bothers me because I’ll never have the chance to be a hero. The other day I was mowing the lawn and I nearly ran over a baby brown toad. Sure I could have pushed the mower three more inches forward and ended the poor thing’s miserable life in a fine mist of blood and guts, but I didn’t. That’s as close as I’ll ever get to being a hero.

I enjoy envisioning a circumstance where I could cast aside my cowardice and panic-stricken tendencies to prove my mettle. It wouldn’t matter the situation, from a burning building to a drowning fisherman. For me that ideal hero situation would involve me miraculously catching babies falling out of an airplane. Unlike my de facto hero counterparts, I would gladly accept the title of hero with all the American bravado the title truly deserves.

I would tour the late night talk shows before writing my self-help books, hopefully self-helping my way to becoming a millionaire. When I would walk down the street people would murmur, “There goes the guy who caught all of those babies. Why were those babies falling out of an airplane anyway? Doesn’t matter I guess, that guy is a hero. I want his autograph!”

And I would smile, nod my head in thanks and inform them that they probably couldn’t afford my autograph.

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Chuck Briese, Oak Ridge Now

[avatar user="cbriese" size="thumbnail" align="left"] Chuck Briese has been a resident of South Montgomery County since 1988. He and his lovely and patient wife, Leslie, have six sons, with only one left to finish high school. Chuck has been a Cub Scout leader, a Little League baseball coach, a church youth leader, and a general troublemaker over the course of the past 25 years. He is obsessed with his lawn, and likes restaurants that serve food that fills up the plate. He has a tendency to tilt at windmills, which may explain why he started Oak Ridge Now.

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