I have always taken for granted, I suppose, my definition of a “hero”.  I just figured we all agreed on all that word encompasses.  A hero is someone who goes above and beyond.  A hero is someone who does what it takes no matter what the cost.  A hero increases the quality of life as we know it.  A hero brings life!  A hero stands up for what is right.

A hero is not a tattle-tail (tale?).  Is there a place for someone to tell the police who is breaking the law in the definition of “hero”?  I suppose there is but…

Alongside  certain freeways there are specific signs.  These signs dot the road when there is a carpool lane.  They say:  Report Violators (carpool lane symbol).  Call 1-206-764-HERO.

Now, basic English skills would bring about the assumption that the word “HERO” on this sign means that somewhere in this equation, there is hero.  Is the hero the law violator for wanting to drive in a faster lane?  Is the hero the person calling the police to report the person driving in the faster lane?  Is the hero the police people who are answering the phone?  Who is the hero in this event?

I think this phone number insinuates that the person dialing “HERO” is the hero.  I do not drive in the carpool lane when I do not have enough people to constitute a carpool.  I am someone who loves it when everyone follows the rules.  I grew up following the rules and I always got in trouble when I didn’t follow the rules.  My friends follow the rules.  And if they don’t, I don’t stay friends with them very long unfortunately for them :).  You become like the people you hang with and since I like following the rules (for the most part), I stick with people who do the same (and if I stay friends with them despite breaking “rules”, I just pretend like I don’t know they break rules-hmmm I may have issues).

By telling on the people who don’t have enough people in their car to lawfully drive in that diamond lane and then defining the reporter as a “hero”, we water down the definition of “hero”.  Why can’t we just keep the definition of hero to include military people, police officers, firemen, medical professionals,  and overworked, tired moms who continue to wake up morning after morning to take care of all their kids?

There are other signs along side the freeway too.  These signs say “Litter and it will hurt-call 1-866-Litter1 to report”.  I would rather someone drive illegally in the carpool lane than litter on the ground.  Now, why don’t we put “hero” on this sign as well?  Let’s call everyone “heros”!  This sign does not have the word “hero” on it because tattle-tails are not heros.  Are they necessary?  Sure but they aren’t heros.

I have been suppressing my inner Hero my entire life-trying not to tattle on kids who break crayons, pick fights, and call people names and here I find that I can be hero everyday with absolutely no effort!  Look at me, I just saved everyone’s lives by getting someone in trouble!  I am an average person who just did what everyone would do!  I saved the planet from a law-breaker!  Just call some phone number and tell on someone who is trying to get somewhere fast.   Where’s my plaque?  Where’s my ceremony?  Where’s my picture on the front page of the newspaper?  Where is my biography at the top of the best seller list?  Where is my phone call from Oprah wanting to schedule me to be on the show?

Can I also add that I am proud of all of us who abide by the law and drive in the slow lanes with all the other cars?  It’s hard to see that wide open lane and continue to go 5 mph for 30 minutes.  And yet, we do it.  Good Job people!  Way to go!  I am proud of you!  I love it when we all follow the rules without even thinking about it!  🙂