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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Two Hero stories. One fictional and the other real. Both favorites of mine.

First, fiction: I have a favorite movie... and no, it is not Sleepless in Seattle, Frozen, Mary Poppins or anything silly like that... though Mary Poppins does star Dick Van Dyke. (Thank God it's not Dick Van Patten... I hate the Van Pattens for no good reason... honest.)

I really loved Hero with Dustin Hoffman, Gena Davis and Andy Garcia. Hero is a 1992 movie that Roger Ebert (God rest his soul) thought was great EXCEPT for some superfluous dialog. Three and a half stars. C'mon Roger, you could have done better than that.

Says Ebert: Hoffman plays Bernie LaPlante, lifelong loser. He's a small-time Chicago thief whose wife has thrown him out, whose son doesn't admire him, and whose future is a prison term for receiving stolen goods. Then one night an airliner crashes right in front of him on a deserted road, and although he's no hero, Bernie is responsible for pushing the plane's emergency door open, and personally rescuing several passengers - including a TV newswoman played by Geena Davis.

If it hadn't been for this little guy, everybody might have died. But they live, while he disappears back into the rainy night.

The closing scene wraps the whole thing up in true It's a Wonderful Life style.

Now the real: Here's the point though... anyone can be a hero given the right time and place. Most heroic actions are situational and reflexive. And more amazingly, most who are dubbed "heros" by the media claim they did nothing more than anyone else would've done in similar circumstances or that they were only doing their job. But the reality is that lives are saved and/or tragedy averted.

I believe that one can be a hero and no body would be aware of it.

A week or so ago, My daughter and her husband walked onto a Florida beach with their children.
First thing they noticed as they surveyed the Atlantic was that two young boys in the water were struggling to get to shore against a rip tide. One of the youngsters was attempting to help the other  and they were both in trouble. Neither the parents down the beach nor anyone else were aware of the sudden problem.

The boys, realizing their situation, asked for help. Both daughter and husband dived into the ocean and pulled them out, as well as their young son who had just waded in. No gathering crowds, no cheering or news media coverage... life just kept going on... thank God, except that if they weren't there then, it might not have ended well. Who knows.

This hero stuff is within us all. Maybe we have already been a hero to someone we didn't even realize needed our help. A word, a deed, whatever. Be a hero to yourself... the kind of person you'd like to see looking into a mirror. 

As John Bubber (Andy Garcia) said in the movie: We're all heroes if you catch us at the right moment.

Caution alert: This movie was released in the UK and Ireland titled Accidental Hero. There is also a 2002 release of a Chinese movie Hero... same name, very different. In China, it was called Ying xiong and is the highest-grossing motion picture in Chinese film history. Here's the trailer for my Hero flick.

 PS: As I write this post, I'm listening to Bette Midler sing Wind beneath my wings. You know, the song with this verse: 

Did you ever know that you're my hero,
and everything I would like to be?
I can fly higher than an eagle,
'cause you are the wind beneath my wings.

Coincidence or... ?

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