Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Actually, I have enough heroes already, thanks!

SPOILER ALERT! This posting contains rantings about the use of Pop Culture, "-isms" and trends. I promise, its not the standard, "things are not like they used to be" tirade. But it's close.

Have you noticed how much the word "hero" is tossed around these days? Its the new 'it' word since it seems to apply to some one's special traits, endeavors or accomplishments. I first started noticing it shortly after all the NYFD memorial hoopla after 9/11. These men and women were truly courageous, giving their lives to help others in the wake of awful circumstances.

But recently, Doctors, Dentists, Politicians, Actors, Crossing Guards and a host of other professionals are suddenly called out as being exemplary examples of people dong great things. So much of this has happened in recent years that I am becoming desensitized to the word. This sucks, because I already have my heroes. I think we all do.

"I need a hero–!"
Some are real, others may have battle armor from a video game, others still wear colored tights. Local news stories in every major city talk about "local heroes", CNN lets you nominate "Your CNN Heroes" and on and on. For certain, there are people who lead ordinary lives that do extraordinary things.

But enough.

I believe I can fly...
The kid who saves fluffy from falling out of the tree is just doing a good deed. The Police officer who pulls over someone suspicious and ends up arresting a hardened criminal is doing their job. The Doctor, performing a quadruple bypass is exceptionally skilled to be sure, and the mid-level management that discovers a glitch in the software and saves their company millions of dollars is bright and doing good. But they're not heroes.

Honestly, they are not.

Surgeons, life guards or someone serving in our nation's military, are doing extraordinary things that save lives EVERY day. They have also chosen these careers and are expertly trained. I am expertly trained. As a designer. As a writer. When i write, am I hero, too? If I design an ad that draws in a huge response, and my client reaps huge gains in revenue and notoriety, do I get an award ceremony? Or profile on the evening news? No.

Thank you.
In no way do I mean to belittle great things done by passionate, dedicated people. But the word is loosing it's power. And I am loosing my patience. A hero is someone who puts others before themselves, whose personal sacrifices endure the test of time and let us know the full measure of human accomplishment, often in the face of incredible adversity. I honor the Doctors who have (literally!) saved my life in the past, the Firemen who came rushing to the aide of my Mom and I when I was seven years old, victimized by Arson. Or the brave soldiers in our nation's military who answer the call when threats to national security arise. I just wish we had a better word than 'Hero' for them. It is quite possible, they deserve something more.