Obstacles to Greatness, Part 1

Yesterday, on my way home from work, I caught up with a friend from law school, who we will call Y. Y is an IP attorney who lives in San Francisco. She works really hard all the time, though I rarely notice how hard she works because she doesn’t complain. She always had a relaxed demeanor in law school, but then, seemingly out of nowhere, she secured an internship with a Court of Appeal justice and became the president of the moot court board. Now she works as an in-house attorney for a large, national department store, which, by the way, is a REALLY hard job to get, and she just got promoted even though she hasn’t been there for long. Did I mention she’s training for a half marathon right now? Ugh, how much do you love to hate Y right now? So much. When I’m working hard, everyone hears about it whether they want to or not. How are people going to know to pat me on the back for all of my hard work if I don’t complain about it?

I digress. While I inched my way up Lincoln Boulevard as quickly as possible so that I could retrieve the Bean before her daycare closed, Y told me about how she has started strength training. She said that it gives her confidence to know that if she is ever in a situation where another full-sized adult needed to be carried, she could do it. “Oh,” I said, “you’re in hero training.”

I have a recurring daydream where I become a hero. Not one of those heroes who, with fortitude and a good attitude, makes small but difficult daily decisions that go entirely unnoticed but that help lots of other people. No, the type of hero who does one big, courageous act and gets on the evening news. (In a strange twist, I actually hate the evening news, but that’s another rant for another day.) The daydream changes depending on the day, but it usually involves me witnessing a small-ish plane crash, running through fire, pulling everyone to safety, and tending to wounds until the paramedics show up.

At this point, you probably think I am narcissistic. That’s ok; I do too. But lest you think I am unrealistic, I have mapped out the major obstacles to my imagined greatness:

1. I have a strong aversion to blood and needles.

It’s hard to save lives when you can’t stop throwing up and/or you have passed out. These are the types of problems that have kept me from becoming a real hero, like a nurse or doctor. (Well, that and the B+ I got in biology because I never wanted to take the time to memorize all of the parts of the digestive system, nervous system, etc., which, as my dad pointed out, is kind of a big part of medical school.) My strong aversion to blood and needles ties in with problem #2.

2. I don’t know CPR or how to tie a tourniquet.

Again, these are two important steps in the life-saving process. In one version of the daydream, I use a piece of my clothing to tie a tourniquet around someone’s severed arm. If I really want this daydream to go as planned, I need to learn how to tie a tourniquet. I also need to start layering more clothing. Otherwise, when I am interviewed for the evening news segment on my bravery, I will be topless. I suppose, in the alternative, I could plan to do the interview without a shirt, but in that case I should start toning my arms.

3. I am easily traumatized.

I tend to have a difficult time ridding my mind of disturbing images, so I don’t really want to observe a plane crash. I know it would mess with my sleep for years to come. Also, I work near LAX and am constantly seeing double-decker planes land, so if I ever happen to observe a plane crash, chances are that it will be a HUGE crash, the type of catastrophe in which I would not be helpful, even just in my imagination, and that I would never recover from viewing.

4. I have fine hair.

Name one superhero or powerful female politician (in real life or on TV) with fine hair. You can’t. I hate to say this, but true power and greatness come with thick hair.

I’m not sure where that leaves me. I think, given my limitations, it’s time to alter the daydream so that I observe and resuscitate a man having a minor cardiac issue, which he not only survives, but which leads him to change his habits so that he lives for many more years. It might not land me on the news, but it shouldn’t negatively affect my sleep, and I’m sure my parents would tell some people about it. They might even write about it in their annual Christmas letter. I suppose I have to take a CPR class now. (Was I supposed to take one of those while I was pregnant?) It’s really time consuming to be a hero.

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