WHATCHU TALKIN BOUT WILLIS?

I grew up when Diff'rent Strokes was a popular television show. That's no big deal unless your last name is Willis. To this day I still hear those famous words popularized by Arnold: "Whatchu talkin bout Willis?" Usually they are uttered by someone looking at me as though I may have never heard it before. Yeah, right! Well this blog is what I (Willis) am talkin bout...my thoughts, observations & opinions. Enjoy...



Friday, November 14, 2008

A Hero?

I was thinking about often I hear the word "hero" these days. In my estimation it is an overused word. It regularly gets applied to entire groups of people - literaly millions of people some times, just because of their jobs. We hear about our "heroes" in the military. Our police, firefighters and even teachers are touted as "heroes" too. Certainly some in these groups are heroes but everyone of them? Now, I realize this might be a sensitive issue, but may I ask, "Do we really think that all of the aforementioned folks qualify as 'heroic'?" Consider these definitions from Merriam Webster...

Hero - 1 a: a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability b: an illustrious warrior c: a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities d: one that shows great courage.

Heroic - 1: of, relating to, resembling, or suggesting heroes especially of antiquity2 a: exhibiting or marked by courage and daring b: supremely noble or self-sacrificing 3 a: of impressive size, power, extent, or effect b (1): of great intensity : 2): of a kind that is likely only to be undertaken to save a life.

If every soldier is a hero than what do we call the soldier who rushes into enemy fire and is wounded trying to aid a fallen soldier, yet still drags his brother to safety? Is he a "hero" along with the guy who works on jeeps back at the base? What do call the firefighter who almost loses his own life rescuing someone? Is he a hero along with the guy who cooks back at the firehouse? (Somehow "superhero" doesn't seem to work.) There are more examples but I think you get my point. Maybe it's because we lack many genuine heroes that we "dumb down" who can be one. Or perhaps it is a desire for more credit than we deserve that this happens. But, I'm convinced, that if everyone is a "hero" then no one really is.

4 comments:

aaronsaufley said...

This will reveal a little about where I'm from, but what about the police chief who sexually harrassed every woman in his department and was just busted for being one of the primary financial backers of a nationally known cockfighting ring? Is that dude a "hero" simply because he wore a badge (which he obviously abused)? I seriously doubt it.

Good post, Willis.

Melissa said...

I totally agree with you...same thing goes for the word miracle. It drives me crazy. It's interesting how words change over time and seem to lose their true meanings!

William Mckinley Dyer said...

Where is Beowulf when we need him

David H. Willis said...

Melissa,

I heard the late Roger Chambers make that same point. He said something like "If the birth of your baby is a miracle then what do we call the birth of Jesus?"