I’m no hero. I’m just a simple man, flesh and blood.
Oh, sure, some people might call me a “hero” after my recent actions. They might use such words as “courageous,” “lionhearted” and “indomitable” to describe me, but I’m too unpretentious to accept that. (And it was very hard for me to include that information in the second paragraph of a column. I’m humble, after all.)
Really, I’m just a normal man, doing his normal job. That I cheated death recently might make me lucky or awe-inspiring or, arguably, heroic. But I don’t consider myself heroic. Others might think I am (Who am I kidding? Others obviously believe I am), but I remain a humble man who is grateful for another shot at life.
What did I do that was so courageous?
Well, I insist it was just me doing my job and reacting in a way that any selfless man would react. But others . . . well, they want to elevate me.
Understandable, but not necessary.
I was sitting at my desk in the Daily Republic newsroom one recent morning, watching Internet videos of kittens playing the piano, when suddenly there was a loud noise and a flurry of action above me.
A lesser man (not my words, that’s simply what all my co-workers said after recognizing what they called “heroism” and “a modern-day profile in courage”) might have ducked and covered. He might have run screaming from the building. He might have accidentally turned up the computer’s volume and revealed that he was watching kitty-piano videos.
But I didn’t do any of those things. I just reacted as I was trained.
I flinched. And looked up.
THE LIGHT FIXTURE ABOVE MY DESK HAD COME UNATTACHED ON ONE SIDE AND WAS SWINGING WILDLY ABOVE MY HEAD!
I know! Scary, right?
For several moments, the light fixture – which looks suspiciously like a guillotine when it’s perpendicular to the ceiling – swung back and forth, threatening me.
Most people would have screamed. Many would have cried. Several would have fainted.
I stared at it, quickly calculated that it was unlikely to come unattached and decided – contrary to what most (non-heroic?) people would do – to stay at my desk and finish watching the kitty video.
You never know when the countless hours spent watching police and military TV shows will come in handy. I’m so grateful for a youth spent studying Jim Rockford and Tony Baretta.
After the outpouring of affection by my co-workers, I went back to my job. The terror hasn’t ended. The hanging light fixture is still there, hovering over me as I write this.
But when I look up, I don’t think about death. I don’t think about how my actions may have saved others. I don’t think about how my co-workers probably secretly are in awe of my courage.
I’m just grateful to be alive.
Again, I’m no hero. Just a humble man who acted heroically.
Thank you, Jim Rockford. You’re welcome, Solano County.
If I helped one person, I’m pleased. That’s the kind of man I am.
Reach Brad Stanhope at 427-6958 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bradstanhope.