Tuesday 14 February 2012

Brave Sir Robin

I really like stories that have a more or less unremarkable person thrust into unrealistic and even deadly situations where the outcome of death and dismemberment is a foregone conclusion. However, through a series of chance, blind luck and unknown skills our reluctant protagonist usually manages to not only survive, but to be the hero.

Hansel and Gretel not only survived their encounter with the witch, but they managed to rid the forest of her, had a good feed of candy and also stole the witch’s fortune. Harry Potter is another popular underdog that managed to surmount being orphaned as a baby, having mean adoptive relatives and a very powerful wizard that is hell bent on killing him. Harry had quite a lot of help, and it didn’t hurt that he was also able to cast spells and fly a broom. I guess my favourite underdogs would have to be Bilbo and Frodo Baggins. They are the reluctant heroes that are closest to my heart. They are basically good hearted beings that would prefer to avoid all “interesting” adventures, preferring instead to eat many meals each day, smoke and having naps is a viable pastime. They get tricked into adventures that very nearly result in death and perhaps even worse, they miss many, many meals.

I was thinking today what would happen if I were to be put into a situation in which my skill set would be totally useless. I have to think that I would be one of the unfortunates that wouldn’t make it past chapter three in a book or beyond the title in a movie. I guess fear and adrenaline might give me a few more chapters or minutes, but if I had the need to run or swim any distance, the bad guys wouldn’t have to waste a bullet or knife thrust because all of that fear and adrenaline would have stopped my heart already.

I suppose that I could be the comic relief that gets tossed into the trunk of the car early on in the movie whose muffled complaints would frequently be heard. I don’t know whether I would be able to stare down a bad guy without wetting my pants. I haven’t had many situations in my life when I was threatened with violence, but the few times it did happen I did one of three things. First, I would run which has always seemed to me to be the better part of valour. I picture myself as a modern day Swamp Fox, running away and hiding until I can come back to fight again. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADesK3Wa_D0&feature=related

The second thing that I have done is to look the assailant straight in the eye and with a sniffle, a gulp and a quavering voice, Say “Oh yeah!” This has proved particularly useless, because the obvious answer from the bully is “YEAH!” which is followed by a fist or two. My final tactic is to try and reason with the monster, knowing that there is no reasoning with this kind of being and all the while I am making peace with my God.

No, I hope that all of my unrealistic, deadly situations stay in books or on the TV screen. It is possible that I could rise to the situation and be the kind of person they write songs and tell tales about, Like Sir Robin in “The Holy Grail” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVpoXw2JCBw&feature=fvst

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