I'm sure I lived in an age of heroes.
My teens were 20 years ago now (god thats sick!!!) and it seemed to be around that time that there was heaps of heroic stuff going on. People were still doing amazing, brave things like going around the world in a helicopter (always a dicey proposition at the best of times), going up in space then gliding back to earth two weeks later in an un-powered brick that had the aerodynamic profile of an elephant and the drag coefficient of a wet box of tissues or walking all the way to the North Pole......... backwards - stopping only to apologise to the disgruntled penguin, whom you just tripped over. There were still records to be set (and don't give me that "well they're still setting them" crap cause I've seen that Guinness Records show and you know its crap too!), places to see and frontiers to explore.
Heroism is defined as being of special bravery, warrior-like spirit (in the Homeric sense, that is), someone worthy of great deeds and having an inherent nobility. These people have some extra, intangible quality that radiates like golden light on the rest of us poor moths -so much so that we circle these people in a mad rush to bathe for a moment, just a small moment in their reflected glory, hoping that a little bit of their light will shine on us.
Often , heroism was most commonly displayed on the battlefield (Sorry ladies, you actually had to dress like a man, go win a war then be lighly fricassee'd to be counted as heroic in the old days) where songs would be sung of glorious battle, of sacrifice and even a divine nobility that blessed great men with the honour of being remembered throughout time.
Most of the time it was bollocks, though.
The stories of glorious death turned out to be rather inglorious (Basterds!, how dare they make all that stuff up) as we've come to find that war was not the great enterprise we all thought it was and instead turned out to be a bit of a drag really. In fact its not very nice at all. Sacrifice is a bit of a pain in the arse too because it seems that a great many nice people go away and then never come back so that isn't so great. And who really wants a song made up about them if they are not around to hear it? I'd be jolly annoyed if someone went to all the trouble to make up a good tune and put in some good lyrics and I never got to listen! I did all the work didn't I? And good luck rhyming with XChequer - but if anyone could, please be Eddie Vedder! (huh, chequer.....vedder).
So, war has turned out to be a fizzer.
Politicians? Nah, lets not go there. The Clergy? They've been venerated for years, haven't they. But mostly by other clergy, so I don't think that really counts. Knights! Now, theres a goody! Heroes of old were knights. The common man aspired to knighthood by worthy deed. They were lauded they were.......eh? Oh, yeah. War again. Bugger.
So where are our heroes then? Where are the people that we used to look up to - who gave our lives a centreboard, a keel by which to help sail life by? If our parents were the hull of the ship, the framework from which we'd start our voyage (this metaphor is starting to make me be a little vomitously ill now) then weren't heroes the people that gave us aspiration to start out on our own? We had their pictures plastered on our walls, we read about them in books and imagined ourselves doing the same things they did - only with us in their place. Aside from sounding like a fatuous boy scout who's just taken some cranking peyote, does any one think like this anymore? Or am I just a relic?
These days the cupboard seems a bit bare. These days our heroes (it all seems a bit flaccid, really, to even call them that) are vapid - and vampiric - movie stars who do..... well they make us feel good but do they actually do anything heroic? Other heroes are business people who stamp their mark by........... by...... making a lot of money (if you say this out loud, it really doesn't sound that heroic does it?).
Or are the heroes still there but because I'm now older, I don't know about them or identify with them? I think the world is a better place with heroes in it but are we now so sophisticated that we don't need them?
That would be a shame.