How To Be a Hero: The Marvel Way

I hate this version of Cap’s uniform, but the image expresses my meaning

1) Step up and be one. 2) ‘Nuff said.

Context

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My small town has a creek running through it. A lot of snow over the past few weeks, plus rapidly rising temperatures, plus still-frozen ground has lead to flooding. Flooding greater than I’ve ever seen in my 50 years.

My house is only a few dozen meters from the creek, so I went out to survey the situation.

On my way back, I had to cross through a group of people carrying sand bags to channel overrun into the street rather than into basements.

Step Up

Cleverly disguising myself as a Canadian
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I’m 50, arthritic, sport a “dad bod”, and have some sort of tendinitis in my right elbow. I saw athletic young men half my age carrying sand bags, and I did what Marvel taught me to do: I stepped up and asked “Can I help?”

For the next half hour, I “hulked up” and hauled sand bags—just like the athletic young men; the pudgy, middle-aged women; the high school kid; and the couple strangers that pulled up with more sand bags in the back of their pick-up.

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I’m going to pay for it tomorrow morning (I’m already feeling it now). I’ve already sent a message to my supervisor saying that I’ll come in to work “when I’m able to walk”. And I know he’ll say “Okay”.

Take Charge

Two doors down from the sandbagging, I stopped at the karate studio and asked if I could help.

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They were carrying buckets of water from the basement in an effort to drop the water level. And they were doing it badly. Each person was carrying two full buckets 30m, and walking back with the empties.

But I learned from Captain America (and Dad, and Mom, and my grandparents, and... well... a lot of old people). Within 5 minutes I had us in a “bucket brigade”. It took some strong reminders (“Drop then take!”, “Full buckets are more important!”), and a few strong questions (“Is there someone who can step in and fill this gap?”)

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I was surprised that nobody else had done this before I did. But, once I took charge, everyone understood—and agreed with—what should be done. Anyone could have so.

Step Back

After a couple hours of tossing water buckets, a man showed up with a high-capacity pump. After getting the gawkers to step back, my first question was: “Is there anything you need?” He was now in charge.

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He needed a couple tools that I had, so I ran (in my awkward, old-man way) back to my house and got them. I followed his lead, did what he asked, and got the job done.

Step Forward

“I can do this all day” — Arguably the most heroic moment in the MCU
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My love for Marvel can be summed up in the image above. Heroes aren’t heroes because they have powers. Heroes are heroes because they choose to be.

I was among heroes tonight.

Tomorrow, it may be your turn to step up.  Will you?

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