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We can be Heroes
Just for one day

(Excerpt from David Bowie and Brian Eno – “Heroes” – released 1977)

I’ve been in a little bit of a funk over the past couple of days. Nothing serious mind you, more of that feeling where you can sense that something is wrong but can’t quite put your finger on it. I wish there was a word to describe it. I think we all experience that feeling sometime over the course of our lives. A good friend of mine describes them as “low-level anxiety attacks". I don’t think that’s it but that’s probably as close as I can come to defining the feeling.

I was listening to the aforementioned Bowie song last night and it got me to thinking about the “We” portion of that song. You see, whenever I think of some kind heroic deed or action, I usually cast myself in the leading role. If there’s somebody who needs to be pulled from a burning building, in my mind, I’d be the one doing pulling. I dunno, maybe we all cast ourselves as heroes in the story rather than the “victims”. (Although I find the word “victim” a little strong in this sense, I can’t come up with anything else.)

And so it was, my funk continued, my outlook was worsening, my mood become more unpredictable and my appetite for food and for life, non-existent. Bowie and beer was doing nothing to break the spell. Just when it seemed it seemed as I was sinking lower, the phone rang. It was my kid.

For those of you who don’t know me, this is normally a joyous occasion in my household and I didn’t see why last night would be any different. After the initial “how are you’s” were exchanged I could tell by the tone in her voice that something seemed to be wrong. Naturally, I inquired.

She then went on to tell me that she had gotten tossed out of school earlier in the day. That she had gotten into a fight with another kid over something stupid and that she was suspended. Her mom had had to go pick her up and that we had to talk to the teachers next week about her increasingly bad behavior.

Naturally, I was shocked and my present mood wasn’t doing anything to help the situation. After all, this was my angel, my raison d'être, the thing I looked forward to most in life and here was the first glimpse of trouble on the horizon. After a couple of silent “Oh shits” I began to tell her that such behavior was intolerable and that fighting was never the answer to solving a problem, especially for a nine year old. I guess I started to rip into her pretty good when all of a sudden…

The giggling started followed by …


I had been had. I had bought the whole episode hook, line and sinker. I felt a little embarrassed and tried to make up for it by telling her that I had gotten fired from my job and that she shouldn’t be making up stories like that. She wasn’t buying any of it though and our conversation returned to the more mundane things such as soccer games and plans for the weekend.

After we hung up, a funny thing happened. Whatever had been bothering me over the past couple of days seemed to have vanished. The fog had lifted, the spell had been broken. Maybe it had been there in the first place because I hadn’t taken the time to laugh at myself and I was taking stuff way too seriously. Maybe, instead of playing the hero I was in search of one. Little did I know it would come in the form of a nine-year-old girl. I guess the old adage holds true, “heroes come in all shapes and sizes.”

We can be Heroes
For ever and ever
What d'you say

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