It's been 4 years and three months since I did anything heroic. My citation is in the filing cabinet. I haven't looked at in two years.
Being admired was a pretty heady feeling. I really got to like it for a while, though of course I couldn't really show it. That's Not Done. People want to admire a hero, but nobody really wants to see one basking in the admiration. You can't be a real hero and show you like it.
Besides, it really is embarrassing. Like everybody else who's done something other people are impressed with, I mostly just did what seemed to be the right thing to do at the time. You go through life wondering what you're made of, and one day you find out.
But then what do you do?
I'm sure everybody here at Heroes Anonymous knows what I mean. After it's all over you go back to your life. Ordinary. Making small differences.
OK, I admit it. I liked it. I liked the flow of adrenaline. I liked the preternatural clear-headedness, the elongation of my time sense, the almost hallucinogenically crisp clarity of perception. I relished the paradox: I never felt so alive as when I was risking my death.
I thought about imitations-- skydiving, rattlesnake round-ups, car racing, bungee jumping... but what's the point? There's nothing at stake there *but* my life. The thrill alone isn't the thing; it's the rush of the rescue. The need.
OK, I could Do Good. Help the needy. Volunteer. There's always something. God knows there's plenty of good to be done in all kinds of dangerous places. I could have it all. All I'd have to do is move.
Something to think about.
Thanks for listening.