Tue | Jun 19, 2018

Can't save them all

Published:Monday | February 29, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Clark Kent, put your glasses (that you don't really need) back on! Some of the world's citizens don't need you.

The problem with regular heroes, superheroes, and those who like to think they're heroes is that sometimes they try too hard. It's hard to not want to jump in and save the day. At some point, it's like part of their DNA. At the very least, there's the warm, fuzzy feeling they get from doing something good. At the very extreme, there's this insatiable appetite to produce feats of heroism that may or may not be written down and preserved throughout the annals of time. Some will go completely unnoticed, while others will resonate for a time but ultimately disappear.

But quite frankly, every hero or wannabe hero, at some point in his 'career', must come to one curious conclusion: that the truth is that some people just don't want to be saved. It doesn't make sense to the hero. I mean, why should it? Who doesn't want to be kept from the storm-ravaged seas, the falling buildings, the sadistic villains who come across our path practically on a daily basis?

And yet, there are some people who will choose to fight their own battles, or better yet, conclude they are not in danger at all. From the outside looking in, it simply doesn't make any sense. But to quote German actor Armin Mueller-Stahl in the movie, The International, "There's a difference between truth and fiction. Fiction has to make sense."

Of course, just because some victims don't realise they need to be saved doesn't mean that our heroes shouldn't step in. On the contrary, some will argue that those victims are the ones most in need of assistance. Some, however, are doomed to keep putting themselves in harm's way.

Don't get me wrong! All of us make some mistakes repeatedly no matter how hard we try to deny it. The only difference is that some repetitive mistakes have greater consequences than others. But better yet, other victims will simply tell our superfriends when they stick their hand out to get lost.

The obvious instinct is to retract aforementioned hand. But it isn't easy. That's because the overriding feeling is to save the person anyway. That's where things become tricky for our knights in shining armour. The key to maintaining sanity for our friendly neighbourhood spiderman or our caped crusader is to know when to leave the DSM (Don't Save Me) community and its inhabitants alone.

Like I said, it isn't easy. But it's a necessary differentiation that every hero, at some point, must make. And guess what? As is always the case with choices like this, there's no universal template.

So take my advice Superman, Spidey, Dark Knight, and all you other doers of good. Sometimes you have to put away your capes, masks, and costumes. Park your Batmobile. Take off your web shooters. Hide your red brief. Go back to your job of taking photographs. Keep being a billionaire playboy. Continue writing stories for The Daily Planet. And then, simply sit and watch the world burn.

Link me at daviot.kelly@gleanerjm.com