I Need A Hero

Kevin Bacon being the "Hero"

Kevin Bacon being the “Hero”

I remember when Footloose was released, the 1984 version with Kevin Bacon and his oh, so cool, bad hair. This movie about a boy who danced in a town where dancing was against the law was quite an odd story line but for some reason I was drawn to it. Besides all the great music and dancing it evoked a feeling of hope, that one person can change things. One person really can make a difference.
One of my favorite parts was when Kevin Bacon was challenged by “a big guy in a cowboy hat” (who looked nothing like any of the high school boys I had ever seen) to play a game of chicken with two large tractors. At the time it seemed, well, daring and exciting. My almost forty year old self now looks at it as a very (and I am using a word that is forbidden in our home) stupid thing to do. Nonetheless, Kevin Bacon accepted the dare and won, though it was not due to his courage but a shoelace that got caught on the tractor petal, not allowing him to jump from his perch. During this entire scene the song “I Need a Hero” blared from the speakers. Bonnie Tyler belted out this fiery tune where she was in search of someone to save the day; Kevin Bacon did just that. Not on a trusty steed but on a large farm tractor in a fictional town called Bomont, Utah.
Thinking about that scene now, I laugh but then I was memorized. This character was a hero to the kids in that town. They had lived under a system that allowed them few freedoms and then, here comes this big city guy who shows them that it can be different. That they can change things, that they can make a difference. I think that’s what we’re all still looking for these days.
A while ago, I overheard a conversation between an older man and a grocery clerk. The older man was saying what this country lacked was heroes, that his generation was filled with them and this one this one had a bit to be desired. At the time I got to thinking that he was right and it made me a bit sad to think that I was raising children in a “hero-less” society. But the more that I thought about it the more I disagreed with his statements.
Hero is defined by Wikipedia as “characters who, in the face of danger and adversity or from a position of weakness, display courage and the will for self-sacrifice—that is, heroism—for some greater good of all humanity.” After reading this I realized that the old man in the grocery store must have not been paying too much attention to anyone around him because I had a list of hero’s that came to mind. They are everywhere.
They don’t all have a red cape or a giant “S” on their chest. They don’t carry a golden lasso of truth or wear gold cuff bracelets that deflect bullets (Wonder Woman, my personal favorite). Most heroes don’t believe they deserve this title because they were just doing the right thing, stepping up and paying attention. There are so many that will never be recognized for their courage and valor but maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Then, they will live to fight another day and not in the limelight and scrutiny of the public at large.
So many, who achieve this title, end up going down in flames because after all of the parades and interviews they are exposed for who they really are, human. Are we so starved for someone to save the day, that when they do, we are forced to find something wrong with them to make ourselves feel better for not stepping up like they did? Don’t we all have a skeleton or two in our closet that we would like to keep hidden?
Sure, times have changed but has the core good in people slipped away? Not by my account. They are out there, some more obvious than others, but they are there.
If you look for them you won’t find them, kind of like searching for a four leaf clover, you just come across it. And maybe, instead of looking to catch someone else in the act we should attempt to get caught in a heroic act of our own.

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