Monday, September 12, 2011

What Makes a Hero

I spent quite a bit of time last week thinking about what I was going to write about the 10th anniversary of 9/11.  When Bin Laden was killed, I wrote pretty extensively what I had gone through that day and most of my emotions, both now and then.  I honestly didn't think I'd be able to write anything here that hadn't already been said countless times before, and yet I felt it would be disrespectful of me to not at least say something about it. 

And then I came across this link:

I'm not sure how much time Vin Scully gave towards writing those thoughts, but I'm constantly amazed about his ability to find the right words to say time and again.  I've admired him for that reason for a long time, and his insights are far deeper and resonate better than mine could ever hope to.  I especially appreciated his mentioning of Pearl Harbor, since that's a tragedy that somehow has been pushed under the rug.  The line "Never Forget" has been a bit of a catchphrase since 9/11, one which has made me wonder if a similar line was used after the Pearl Harbor attack.  Granted, the world has vastly changed in the last 70 years, but I would think people alive then would have kept reminding others to never forget the Japanese attacking Hawaii either.

I don't want to sulk into too much of a depressing post here, so I will end with this thought: The dictionary definition of a hero is one who has "distinguished courage or ability, admired for...brave deeds and noble qualities."  I agree with all that, but I believe there's more to it.  I believe a hero is someone who uses his or her God-given natural abilities without thinking twice of using them, and the rest of us can only sit back and wonder how they are able to do the things they do.  I'll never know how Vin Scully has such an amazing way with words, or how Josh Groban can sing the way he does, or how Albert Pujols can launch a 96-mph fastball into the sky with a single swing of a bat, but they all can.  They all clearly work hard at what they do, but they use their natural talents in the process.  All I can do is sit back and be amazed. 

The same goes for all police officers and firefighters.  I'll never know what it's like to rush into a burning building that's crumbling to the ground, and all I can think of is rescuing as many people as I possibly can before it falls apart.  Frankly, if I were ever put in a situation like that, I'm fairly certain I'd freeze.  Yet on 9/11, more than 700 New York City police officers and firefighters died while rescuing as many trapped civilians from the World Trade Center, even as the towers were collapsing upon themselves.  And they never thought twice about it.  That, to me, is what being a hero is all about.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I'll Take "Psychotic Obsessive Nut Jobs" for $1000, Alex

This may shock you, but I've dealt with a fair amount of rejection over the years.  Actually gotten used to it, in fact.  To the point where if I'm not immediately rejected (politely or otherwise), I start waiting for the shoe to drop.

And then I read this article yesterday:

Go ahead and read it.  Google it for more details if you like.  I can wait.

This story is so bizarre that I'm not quite sure where to start.  I certainly enjoy reading weird news tales from around the world, but every so often I come across something where someone does something so completely removed from logic and reality that I have to marvel at it.  I usually give a woman two phone call and/or text message attempts for her to reply before moving on.  I figure that's fair for to her to call me back if she wants, as well as fair for me to move on in a timely fashion without going overboard. 

What could possibly have been going through this woman's mind to drive her to call this guy every 8 minutes over the course of an entire year?  Did she really think he'd actually answer the phone if she kept calling?  The creepiest part is that the woman had to sleep for at least a few hours every day, so she had to make up for that "lost time" when she was awake.  And how did she manage to get away with making all these phone calls while she was at work?

Then again, if I were the guy I would've blocked her number after about, oh, the 1137th phone call.  I'm not sure why such an option ever occurred to him, but at least he had enough evidence to show the courts the woman needed to be stopped.  I'd still argue after 1000 phone calls or so, he would have had more than enough evidence to show the courts this woman was nuts.

I once had a similar experience to this guy, though, so I can sympathize a bit.  Several years ago, I dated a woman who was a single mom.  She and I had worked together at the time, and she and her husband had split up before she had pursued me.  I was very uncertain about dating her because of all the red flags, but I still decided on going for it with her.

Shortly after we had started dating, her ex-husband got a hold of my cell number.  He called me a dozen or so times a day, but I never answered the phone.  One time he called from a private number, and when I had answered I immediately recognized his voice.  I hung up immediately and never answered his calls.  Fortunately my girlfriend at the time eventually got him to stop calling me, but he made things pretty miserable during the relationship.  I certainly could have had his number blocked or looked into some kind of legal action, but I never did. 

Either way, it's stories like this one that remind me of the kinds of crazies out there.  Fortunately I haven't had anything so extreme happen to me since that time, but I've kept a closer watch of red flags ever since then.