Sunday, August 22, 2010

Heroes In America

I sure get tired of hearing about all the damn heroes we're supposed to be eternally grateful for.

"If you can read, thank a teacher." How about, if you learned how to read inside a building, thank a carpenter.

In Las Vegas, a fireman makes $100K+ per year. Heroes all, and of course they aren't in it for the money. They just like risking their hides for us. They do it for "the people" and we should be forever grateful. Mark Twain once said that the U.S. has the best fire departments money can buy--everywhere else in the world they make buildings that don't burn.

Every policeman is a hero too. Especially since the list of crimes has grown exponentially. The only thing that keeps me from praising them is their excessive use of billy clubs and toilet plungers.


  1. Thank you for this. When I teach the Iliad, the topic of heroism comes up. Achilles is the epic hero and everyone hates him, but they love Hector, who is the human hero who Achilles kills out of revenge. It challenges everything they think about heroism. I say: a hero is not necessarily someone you like, but he or she is someone who is larger than life, who does things that you can't, and because of that, the world is a better place.

    If we cheapen our ideas of heroes, then we cheapen our ideas of goodness.

  2. "Hero" status is not automatic, though the sheep sure seem to think so. Personally, I don't know anyone I'd call a hero. Historically, I'd call many Founding Fathers heroes, because they did what they believed in, in spite of the fact that they knew the high probability of dying for their efforts. That is the mark of a hero, selfless action in the face of certain death.

  3. Hi EOTR,

    "If we cheapen our ideas of heroes, then we cheapen our ideas of goodness."

    You sure have a way with words. I wish I'd said that. And now I'm definitely going to have to read the Iliad.

    Thanks for not taking offense at my remark about teachers. I had only two teachers that I am eternally grateful for. The rest were job-holders. I learned how to read on my own, by pestering people around me for help with pronunciation. I guess I could add Dr. Suess to that list of people I'm eternally grateful for.

    Hope all is well with you and hubby. My best to you.


  4. Hi Mayberry,

    What seems like selflessness might just be the height of selfishness. When ideas are more important than your life, it might just be that life without your ideas is intolerable. Anyway, I've always thought that's the way it should be.



All comments are welcome.