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The events in Boston, West Texas and at Sandy Hook Elementary School started me thinking about our reaction to heroism and horror.  Horrible events seem to awaken our connection to one another that lies dormant during the work-a-day days, weeks, and months of existence.  Suddenly, we hug those we have ignored; we offer assistance to strangers who may have needed help before but were invisible to us.  We say these events bring out the good in people but don’t ask why the good must be brought out.  Heroism itself is unexplainable.  Why will one extraordinary person suddenly throw all caution to the wind to rescue a passerby while others stand frozen?  Does the single act define the person?  I think of Dustin Hoffman’s loser-hero character Bernard Le Plante in the 1992 film, “Hero.”  In James Joyce’s Ulysses, Leopold Bloom makes his Odyssey across Dublin suggesting that simply getting through one day of life takes heroic effort.

(To tune of “They All Laughed,” by George and Ira Gershwin)

We all get so caught up in our lives and
We don’t treat each other well
Comes a calamity
And we all help

We all walk and pass right by each other
Never pause to say hello
The scene isn’t pretty
And it’s such a pity
We’re too busy making dough

Then comes an earthquake, a blast
And we’re awakened, feeling kind
The crisis rolls past
We go back to being blind

We all praise the hero of a moment
Give a cheer a hip-hooray
But lesser know heroics
Are quite passé
Those little acts of kindness
From day-to-day

Lyric © 2013 by Robert S. Steinberg, Esquire

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