Some hold that it is well for people to have heroes. You know, inspiring role-models who might, via their wisdom and courage lead us through the vicissitudes and torments of life. Heroes are a good idea in a way, since life contains no paucity of vicissitudes and torments. In fact, that’s mainly what life is, interspersed with the odd oasis of serenity, and ever-so-rarely, happiness.
Yet, I have always had a problem with heroes. All too often heroes prove to be unheroic in much the same manner that saints aren’t always saintly. But, I ‘get’ the idea; I just have a difficult time aspiring to the wisdom of so choosing. It’s in a similar context to a friend of mine who had always suffered traumatic misfortune in the realms of amour. He just never seemed to be able to keep a damn relationship going. Personally, as another guy, I could never get that. I mean, jeez, broads, go figure. He was a prince of a fellow, a talented artist, witty, intelligent, charming, cultured, and pretty decent looking.
Anyway, to make a long story short, he decided he needed a role model. He chose two friends who had successful long-term relationships as mentors. I wasn’t hurt that he didn’t choose me, as it wouldn’t have made much sense, all things considered. But, these two guys he picked. Married for decades to wonderful women. There must be a formula and those guys had found it. What better mentors? And then, just as my friend was on the verge of asking them to be mentors in a fine male bonding ritual, both hit him with the news that their marriages were breaking up. One due to a relationship that had grown stale, the other due to the fly on a pair of Levis that just wouldn’t stay zipped in the presence of ‘other’ women.
That’s the problem with heroes. Being human they’re flawed and often have feet of clay. Albert Schweitzer supposedly had an ego as big as the Congo, Mother Theresa was kind of a publicity hound, Charles Lindbergh was a crypto-Nazi and JFK simply couldn’t keep his boy parts out of the girl parts of random females, including Hollywood actresses and gangster molls.
So, I have finally pared down my possible heroes to just one, just so I might avoid the old clay-feet syndrome. My hero is as flawed as they come, but he is also very courageous and absolutely cool at almost all times. I have chosen Bugs Bunny as my hero.
Bugs is a slick-talking Brooklyn-accented wiseacre who fears little on the planet. He can look straight down the barrel of Elmer Fudd’s 12-gauge and, unrattled, offer the earflapped little lisping jerk an unperturbed “What’s up, Doc?”
Bugs is mendacious, larcenous, vengeful and lazy, but he’s no Homer Simpson who shares the negative traits. That’s because Homer is a moron, Bugs is very wise. He has a profound ability to assess a situation and decide on a course of action that will invariably play out to his advantage. That’s because he’s not just wise, he is streetsmart, and that’s vital survival skill.
I do believe in a day such as this when we are all put upon by bureaucracies and nanny-state rule mongers, that Bug’s most appealing trait is that aforementioned vengeful nature. If Bugs has a mad on for you, you will suffer, and you will deserve to suffer.
The poor sap that has crossed the now enraged hare never realizes what he has done, but we do when the wascally wabbit turns full face on to his audience, raises a finger and utters: “You realize, of course, that this means war!”
Would that I had that kind of strength and resiliency sometimes.