Wednesday, July 1, 2015

You either die a hero...or live long enough to resuscitate another insect


Heroism is not only in the man, but in the occasion. - Calvin Coolidge


I'm pretty much a normal guy.

I like my coffee black, I have a penchant for Mexican food, I'm obese, I love Nic Cage, and I love Jesus.

I never asked to be a hero. Some men have heroism thrust upon them in the heat of the moment, like Nic Cage in Con Air, and some choose heroism at great risk to their lives, also like Nic Cage in Con Air.



I was swimming by myself in our pool the other day, when I noticed something struggling to free itself from the waters. I grabbed my net, ready to absolutely murder a wasp or bumblebee, and swam (floated) over to check it out.

Lo and behold, a lightning bug was on the surface, paddling rapidly with its tiny stick legs and making no progress whatsoever. The struggle was real. My heart twisted with sympathy for the little guy, and I knew I had to act. My time for heroism had come.

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I lifted him gently out of the torpid waters and placed him gingerly on the rail of the pool. I'm going to be completely honest with you, it didn't look good. He appeared to be quite waterlogged, and had difficulty standing.

Obviously CPR was out of the question...but was it?

Determined to save my little lightning bug friend, and realizing that even the lightest of chest compressions would produce a messy end, I did the only part of CPR I could manage. I blew on it.

Between you and me, I didn't really regulate that first breath, and I dang near blew the little bugger smooth off the edge of the pool. But he held strong, and his little wings spread out as though to dry them off, and I thought, "This is it, this is my moment," and "One Shining Moment" started playing in my head, and I blew on that little lightning bug (gently) until...

The lightning bug took off! Into the breeze he flew, and I could swear he did a little dip as he did, thanking me for my service. I was intensely moved by the experience, and may have even shed a tear at the thought of being so intimately involved with nature.

The story should end there, but it doesn't.

Two days after resuscitating the lightning bug, I was once again swimming (floating) in the pool when I saw something else struggling in the currents.

Looking closely, I saw it was a butterfly, and it was in real bad shape. Its wings were soggier than the unfinished Raisin Bran that sits in my kids' bowls when they realize they don't like Raisin Bran. Its feeble attempts to free itself from the water induced panic in my nature-loving heart and I immediately lifted it out of the water and sat it on the edge of the pool.

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I looked towards the heavens.

"WHY GOD?" I screamed.

And I did the only thing I knew how to do.

I blew on it.

Again, I didn't really regulate the force of that first blow, and this time it was almost a deadly mistake. The butterfly caught the full gale, and flipped off the edge of the pool, but somehow managed to grip the side of the rail and hang on. Mentally chastising myself, I pulled the butterfly back up on the railing and very gently continued my life-giving efforts.

Eventually, the butterfly was dry. He flapped his wings, testing them, and then soared into the heavens (about five feet above the pool) and looked as though he would take off.

But he paused, right above my head, hovering there. What happened next took me completely by surprise.

The butterfly landed on my nose, tickling it, but I didn't sneeze. I knew this was a moment, and I didn't want to sneeze the thing right back into the pool. That just seemed counterintuitive.

I looked into its tiny little butterfly eyes, and I swear it winked at me. Then, gently, it reached out a tiny butterfly leg and brushed my cheek in a gesture I can only assume was a thank you for services rendered.

A single tear rolled down my face. At that moment, I felt more complete than I ever had before. And then the butterfly took flight, free at last, swooping into the wind and into the Great Beyond.

Alright that last part is a lie, but I saved a lightning bug and a butterfly from drowning last week and not a single one of them thanked me, so I'm allowed a little creative license.