How many times a day are we shown images of football players, actors and singers, and 'minor celebrities' (people whose sole accomplishment is getting a lot of attention) with the implied expectation that they are at the top of the human pyramid? More exciting, more interesting, just generally better human beings? I've never counted, but I wouldn't mind betting that for the average person using television or the internet it would be at least several dozen times a day.
What makes these people so special? Is it their brains?
Their fashion sense?
Their moral fibre?
I don't think so.
And then, after being bombarded all day with this, we go off and read books and watch films about superheroes, and at the end we close the book or switch off the television with a sigh, wishing such heroes really existed.
People who wear their underpants outside their trousers.
Or undead, blood-sucking monsters, like this one and this one. (Not directly shown here for copyright reasons).
And yet, every day the true superheroes are out there. Defending us. Facing unspeakable horrors:
Doing THIS and THIS and THIS.
And THIS. (Watch the video - you'll be glad you did.)
Risking their lives to protect the lives and property of total strangers, usually for no pay and at the cost of their own time, and often losing their lives, like 19 year old Katie Peters who, with fellow firefighter Steven Kadar, made the ultimate sacrifice just over a year ago.
So the next time you're casting about for someone to admire, look past the glossy images being foisted on us all day. Look past the insubstantial, empty-headed media icons, to our true superheroes.
To all brave, generous, awesome fire people: