What I’m going to say in this post isn’t particularly original. A lot of people all over the world are saying it. But it’s relevant and it’s true, so I’m going to throw in my ten cents worth as well.
I’m talking about heroes.
As a writer, I spend a lot of time thinking about heroes. The hero is one of the classic character archetypes, and one that is hard to ignore as you develop a narrative.
From my personal perspective, I have an ambivalent relationship to the classic kind of hero – the kind of broad-shouldered, square-jawed superstar who bravely leads a group of dedicated followers towards a happy ending. I don’t want to go into all the issues that a character of this type raises (maybe there’s a future post for that). But I know that in a lot of my stories, I’ve poked fun at this type of character, while trying to demonstrate the repercussions from this type of ‘heroism’.
Then, of course, there’s the particular type of hero who seems to have taken over our media – the superhero. Again, I don’t want to go into the issues around superheroes – because I’ve already done that in a previous post. I’ll just quickly summarise by saying that I long ago stopped taking the idea of a superhero seriously.
But I do want to talk about real heroes. Heroes who don’t necessarily have square jaws and broad shoulders. Heroes who don’t have capes, and don’t wear their undies on the outside.
Having spent more time than I wished in hospital over the last few years (including a stint just a few weeks ago), I’ve spent plenty of time with health care professionals, particularly nurses. I’m in absolute awe at the work they do and the care they give people. I’m not a particularly easy patient to treat, having a very deep fear of needles and blood and medical procedures. And yet, no matter how anxious or difficult I got, they were always patient and gentle, helping me feel more at ease and getting things done with the minimum of fuss.
And now, as the Covid 19 pandemic sets in, they’re displaying even greater levels of heroism. Every day, they’re taking their lives in their hands as they treat the ill, risking that they themselves will come down with that horrible disease.
I’m glad to see that worldwide the public is (mostly) responding with admiration for the sacrifices our healthcare workers are making for all of us. I want to add my (painfully minuscule) voice to that chorus. Truly, these are the heroes of our age.
So, from the safety of my home, where I’m trying to do my bit by self-isolating, I want to thank you, every single one. Wishing that you are able to protect your own health while you save lives, and get suitably rewarded when this is all over.
Posted by Jonathan Gould and tagged as