Doing What You Have to Do
Suddenly I’m “famous” because I plunged into icy water to save our small dog. it turns out I couldn’t reach her, but the firefighters did with all-weather gear and the police yanked me out with a line. Bentley, our German Shepherd, had leaped in to save me, but he got out when my wife called him and he saw that I was going to be fine. (He loathes the water normally.) A month later, people still ask us about it.
I’m no hero. l saw my dog in trouble and went after her. So would any other dog owner physically able to do so. I didn’t stop to intellectualize that I should take my wallet and iPhone out of my pockets, and run around to the other bank where we have a rowboat to try to push that through the ice. My emotions told me what to do. I’d do it again tomorrow, though I’d prefer not to. The wallet and phone were quickly replaced. (Did you know that you can iron money?)
Logic encourages us to analyze, emotion motivates us to act. You may carefully plan a driving route, but if a car stops abruptly in front of you then you slam on the brakes and turn the wheel without analyzing anything at all. At home, you don’t think about whether or not to hug your spouse or child (I hope).
My father, who never talked about the war otherwise, told me (when I asked) that he jumped from planes into enemy guns because he simply assumed “It wouldn’t be me” who something bad happened to. I knew I could get out of the freezing water. And no one was shooting at me. The wonderful first responders were there to help me.
I admire people who carefully think and plan. But sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. I think that’s why I’m where I am.