“Well look at this! Seems we got here just in the nick of time! What does that make us?”
“Big damn heroes sir.”
“Ain’t we just!”
That’s a clip from a favorite series…this clip in fact:
Big damn heroes. It’s ingrained in our culture. We like to see someone rush in to save the day at the last second…there’s even a trope about it.
I’ve been the hero. Even the big damn one. Multiple times. Little stuff. Big stuff. Insignificant stuff. Life and death stuff. Fought. Bled. Bought teddy bears and ice-cream.
I’m proud of my actions in most cases…and learn from the moments when I’m not…but I’ve never felt like a hero…big or damn or otherwise.
See…everything I’ve done on that front…EVERY time I’ve had to step up…EVERY LAST TIME…has been because somebody else that should have been there…or should have been paying attention…or should have been jailed (or killed) by society long ago, or should have done their job…or duty…or simply acted human…has failed. That or some program, law, or other intervention that’s specifically for that situation…has failed.
Utterly. Completely. With a shrug of indifference and a vague hope that we might get it right the next time. The next life.
The toll is unthinkable. Without heroes it would be worse.
I’ve never been a hero. I’ve simply been at the right place. The right time. And I’ve stepped up. Other folks have too. Sometimes I’ve succeeded.
The failures give me nightmares.
So I wonder…deep in the dangerous night…about those that nobody was there for…the wrong place. The wrong day. The wrong second. I’ve seen…smelled…tasted…the aftermath…knowing that somebody…anybody…stepping up at the right time would have changed things.
Big Damn Heroes. Thousands more wouldn’t fill the void…
But it’s not more heroes we need. What we need is less opportunity to create them.
I’ll see you on the road.