Remember "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty?" It was a short story published by James Thurber in 1939 and then turned into a movie with Danny Kaye in 1947. It tells the tale of a regular Joe who spends his time daydreaming about an exciting alternate universe, full of danger and heroics and adventure. He is not the boring old man who watches life from a desk chair, but the military general, the wrangler, the renegade.
If only. I sometimes think that I am the Mrs. Walter Mitty. If you could see what I have accomplished in my "other life," you would be duly impressed.
Today, the tornado sirens went off in our neighborhood for hours, starting at 8:00 a.m. While my kids were engaged in duck and cover at their schools and my friends were in their basements, I fearlessly kept typing away on my computer, taking calls from my boss.
Boss: How's the weather your way?
Me: Well, the sirens are going off. But I'm not scared.
Boss: OK. So, getting back to this eblast ....
Courage! And yet, no tornado appeared. My mettle was not tested by a flying house, and I did not get to save Oz.
Two days ago, my good friend and neighbor was lucky enough to be on the scene for a car fire. Ah, how I wish it had been me! She got the news of the fire, ran outside, triaged the situation and grabbed her fire extinguisher. There she was, with a guy named Larry, squirting foam on an overheated van. The drama! The adrenaline! She was even there for the fire trucks and big hose.
And I missed it. No hero's parade or honorary badge for me.
One of my greatest regrets is not becoming a Police Woman of Atlanta. I could do it, I know I could. Never tell me no. My college boyfriend told me I couldn't handle being sorority President, and so I didn't run, and guess where he is now? Who knows, but I bet it is somewhere very, very bad. And I am President of Something (truly, I am - visit MAT AWARDS).
But I never pursued the police business, because if I can't even watch a scary movie, how am I going to be a cop? I once considered joining the Citizen's Police Academy, but I lazied out. And then I was in the car last weekend with my daughter's new lacrosse coaches, and guess what? One of them was in the POLICE RESERVES OF OHIO! A volunteer police department where he got to go on foot chases and stake outs and make arrests and such. I practically salivated over his stories.
Sigh. What is it that appeals to me about natural disasters and violent crimes? What is in my nature that is itching to get out and save the world? Like poor Walter Mitty, I can't pull the trigger, and am left with only my dreams.
This won't stop me from always being on high alert. Like the Bloodhound Gang from 3-2-1 Contact (google it pre-70's babies) or Dr. Who, I am always ready for adventure. Always available to call 911. Because they know me.
So into the blind wild I go ... hoping for a big moment, just like Walter.
“No, no! The adventures first, explanations take such a dreadful time.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass
Until next time, keep crowin' and looking for trouble!