Wednesday, June 13, 2007

i have always wanted to be a hero. i may have told you about the time i saw a guy trying to snatch a woman's purse, and how when i sprang to the rescue, my pants got caught by my bike chain. the bus came, and she got on -- with her purse.

one time, i was with my wife-to-be in a country where she spoke the language and i did not. out on my own one day, i had seen the hypodermic needle dropped by the drug addicts. one night we went to a classical concert with a mother and her teenage son. i weighed less than 140 pounds, and the kid was at most three inches shorter and 20 pounds lighter.

we left the concert not far from where i'd seen the used needle. two young thugs, drunk and with skinheads, both bigger than me, began to push the kid, and made clear that they were taking him. i thought of the needle, and the life that serves it. i didn't want this innocent kid kidnapped by the thugs.

i grabbed his winter jacket with my left hand, above the sternum, as they were dragging him off. they both leaned into my face, snarling and cursing in their language. several times i said 'please' in their language, which also means 'examine your behavior and stop this.' one of them smashed a beer bottle and waved it at me. i knew i was no match for them but i planned to deflect the first blow with speed, flexibility and what was then surprising strength. perhaps the boy and i could outrun and outmanuever these drunk thugs.

there was a crowd nearby, gathered around some film cameras. presently the director came over and dissuaded the thugs.

my wife-to-be said it was great that the director had saved the day. she didn't know that i was the hero. but the kid did. before they went in the subway, he said 'thank you' and shook my hand with a look of awe on his face.

as i was writing this, my wife reminded me that as we drove away from our wedding reception, i saw a man run up behind a woman on the darkened street, and grab her. i stopped the car and jumped out with a 'hey!' she was walking away in annoyance. they seemed to know each other. he mouthed off to me.
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