Tag Archives: regular

What makes a hero?

What makes a person a hero? You hear the word thrown around pretty casually, hero, like look at me, I spent six months aboard the International Space Station, or, hey everybody, I just landed an airplane in the Hudson River. Everybody knows what I’m talking about, the word hero applied to people simply for doing their jobs. And in the second example, it’s doing your job, but not even doing it correctly, because airplanes aren’t supposed to land in rivers, they’re supposed to touch ground on a runway, in an airport.


Come on, when I was in high school and my car skidded out of control and I swerved onto my parents’ front yard, nobody was giving me any rounds of applause, no, it was just my dad, yelling about how much it was going to cost to fix all of those holes in the grass, which, I never really understood how you can get so angry about a lawn, it’s just dirt, grass will grow there eventually.

No, real heroics involve going beyond the ordinary, which, while you might think my astronaut examples apply, they don’t, because think about it, astronauts today aren’t doing half of the cool stuff that they used to do. Maybe if one of them hijacked a space shuttle and went to Mars, without permission, without even the necessary provisions, and then he got there and he found a Martian space colony, and it spawned this whole new era of interplanetary diplomacy between us and the previously unknown Martian people, maybe that guy would be a hero.

Maybe. But just hanging out in orbit, running space tests and doing routine space work, yes, it’s a lot more exhilarating than say, waiting tables, but I wouldn’t be too quick to apply the hero label. Again, it’s all about exceeding expectations, about going way further above and beyond what people would think you’re capable of.

Which is cool, because it leaves everyday heroics accessible to the average person. You don’t have to go to space, you don’t have to pilot a giant plane, all you have to do is take everybody by surprise with something that nobody would have ever see coming. Like take the waiting tables example, say there was a guy that started to choke, and I rush over to his side, he can’t breath, and so I start pushing down on his chest, I mean, I took a first-aid course years ago, but I can’t really remember the specifics.

And it’s not working, so I grab a knife and start cutting a hole in his throat, a makeshift tracheotomy, but it backfires, I miss something because, again, I have no medical training, at this point I’m going solely off of stuff that I’ve seen on TV. And he starts bleeding everywhere. No, I’m not a hero. Not yet.

So I take a bunch of straws and I combine them into one really long straw, and then I cut myself open and I stick one end of the straw into my veins and the other into his. I have no idea if it’s going to work, I’m not even sure our blood types are compatible. But I get lucky, and it does work, and he survives, and we both wake up in the same hospital room, side by side on two adjoining beds, it turns out this guy is a billionaire, he leans over to me and says, “Son, you were a real hero. You saved my life! And now I’m going to reward you with a huge cash reward.” I’m still not done. I’d then have to deny the reward, say something like, “All in a day’s work,” and then I’d have to go back to the restaurant and say sorry to my boss for missing the rest of that shift.

Then I’d totally be a hero. Because you need that extra layer of adversity, that final level of impossibility that you still wind up conquering. It’s like, again, I’m not trying to knock the Subway Hero, but is that guy really a hero? You know who I’m talking about, right? The guy that jumped on top of the other guy when he fell on the tracks? I’d say, courageous, yes, quick-thinking, definitely, but heroic?

I’m not so sure. He knew exactly what he was doing. There was a space in the tracks where he was able to wait out the train. All he did was position both himself and that other guy into place. Anybody could have done it. No, heroic would have been like twenty people stuck on the tracks, and the train’s coming, it’s barreling out of control down the tunnel, there’s no way this is going to end well.

But then this guy jumps from the platform, he opens up his chest, he’s Superman. He puts his hand out and slows down the train just by pushing it, and then with his super speed he gets everyone to safety before any damage is done. Now that’s a hero, that’s what I call heroics. If you’re not really going that extra step, if you’re not wowing me, then what are you doing? You’re just doing your job. You’re just kind of regular. And again, I’m not saying I’m a hero, so I’m not trying to put anybody else down. But just take a minute, the next time you go to call someone a hero, think about it. Can this person run faster than a car? Does he have X-ray vision? No? Maybe he’s not a hero after all.

I just want the regular carwash

Look, I just want a regular carwash. The least expensive option. I’m not interested in Tire-All performance enhancing tire grip wash. Wait, how much extra? No, no that’s OK. I’m really just here for a pretty basic soaping, rinsing, and wiping. Do you guys vacuum the inside? Like the inside mats? Is that standard, included in the basic package? Sixteen fifty, right? OK, cool. No I don’t want the leather moisturizing detail combo. It’s fine. Really, I don’t even think those seats are real leather.

Synthetic moisturizing detail sub-combo? I’ve never heard of that. Three ninety-nine? I mean that’s kind of reasonable, I just … you know what? No, I always fall for this stuff. Regular car wash please. With the vacuuming. Well, what does the deluxe vacuumizer do differently than the regular vacuum service? Two sixteen additional? I mean, just explain it to me, what am I getting? Is there a noticeable improvement from using the regular vacuum to using the vacuumizer?

Well then why only two sixteen? Why don’t you just up the base price of the car wash and then automatically use the vacuumizer? Won’t that contraption pay for itself a lot faster if you make sure you’re using it on every car? Because, look, I don’t mind necessarily paying two sixteen extra, it’s just that, I don’t like being offered one price and then being offered an increase in vacuuming quality for two sixteen extra. You want two sixteen, just take two sixteen, don’t try to make me voluntarily cough it up.

Besides, you’re going to keep two functioning vacuuming systems installed and ready to go? I guarantee you less than half the people are opting for the vacuumizer. I’m just saying, I’m already leaning towards no. Wait, did that guy misunderstand me? What’s he doing with the vacuumizer by my car? No, I said … well I didn’t make up my mind yet, but now I’ve made my decision. And it’s no. No vacuumizer.

Well I don’t care how long it takes to power up. You should have thought about that before you decided to assume I’d automatically cough over two dollars and sixteen cents. Now it’s not even about the money. It’s about the principle. Don’t give people an option between a default system that doesn’t get the job done and a special surcharged system that … what does this vacuumizer even do?

Do the regular vacuums get the job done? Yes? Well then the vacuumizer, it does the same job, but what, it’s easier to operate? Less manpower? So I’m going to pay extra so you can have an expensive machine do the same job but with less work?

Whatever, you know what, I can’t talk about vacuumizing anymore. Just make sure you get all that crap out from in between the doors. I can’t even reach in there. I don’t even remember the last time I had Lucky Charms while I was driving, so I don’t know how all those hearts, stars and rainbows got in there.

Can I ride in the car? You know while it’s going through the car wash? Why not? Come on, when I was a little kid every car wash used to let you do that. I’d sit in the back and pretend I was a prisoner on a pirate ship. Now nobody lets you stay inside. You always have to walk through the little gift shop, look at all the different varieties of air freshener.

How much? Four twenty five? Just to stay in my own car? Plus the vacuumizer? Two times? Well can’t I just pay you for the first time it was powered up, and you can just still do the regular vacuuming? Come on, why does that guy keep powering it up prematurely? You’re jumping the gun buddy!

All right, thanks a lot boys. Just, no, I already put the tip in the tip box. What do you mean how much, I put like five bucks in. Well why was there a giant metal box that said, “Thanks for the tips!” right where I paid for the car wash? You’ve got to talk to the boss, I don’t know, I see that box, I think, OK, tips, you guys’ll divvy them up afterward. And look, another box right outside. You’ve got to streamline this tip process. I promise you I already tipped.

Man, there’s still so much crap in that crack. I can clearly see a pot of gold, right there. Can you just go over it again with the vacuum? Really? I’d have to drive all the way around? There’s such a long line of cars. You know what, forget it, thanks a lot guys, you’re all doing a great job here, running a great business.