It feels really good to not have to worry about planning a reception. Especially since people have been looking at our pictures and making comments like, “Jameelah looks like a princess! She was glowing! And…you…you looked…well, your suit totally matched her dress …” Still, life is good. Our indoor basil is doing well, the Farmer’s market will open soon, I have thirty pounds of chocolate left over from our candy bar, and except for the thousands of tiny ants that are infesting all the units at our condo, and our dishwasher being broken, things are swell. I even feel like I’m starting to get my sense of humor back. “Knock knock…who’s there…The Tea Party sucks.” See?
Anyway, on a different topic, in two weeks, the International Examiner, the newspaper for which I write, will be hosting our annual dinner to recognize unsung local heroes. If you are like me, you dream about standing up there on stage, sharply dressed, holding a tasteful shiny asymmetrical crystal trophy or plaque with your name on it. Months of lobbying my boss, the Editor in Chief, however, have been futile, and if a Groupon voucher for a 60-minute massage does not convince her that I deserve a plaque for being an unsung hero, I don’t know what will. Apparently it’s going to someone named Mary Nguyen. Allegedly she has been a labor community organizer who is also working to counter human trafficking. And what, does the Tea Party just make fun of itself? Of course not; we humor writers provide an important service and should be recognized.
After Googling the past plaque winnders, however, I realize there are distinct patterns to their rise to glory. I present them here, so that you too can be a local hero and get a plaque.
First, join a crapload of committees. The average person spends about 3 years of their lives in the bathroom. Well, community heroes spend approximately 12 years just in meetings alone and only 6 months in the bathroom. These meetings are very important, but most of the time they last forever and there are usually not even any snacks. And yet, these heroes tirelessly join these committees to help solve society’s problems, sometimes dealing with all manners of idiots. So the more committees you join, the higher your chances are of being considered a local hero.
Second, “follow-through.” It’s when you say you would do something, and then, instead of taking a nap or watching reruns of The Mentalist, you actually do it!
Third, local heroes tend to have a paradoxically depressing yet hopeful vision for an ideal world, and, unlike for the rest of us, it doesn’t include robots. When asked why they do the things they do, they say stuff about how it’s all of us working together, and not robots, who will solve global problems like climate change, educational disparities, M. Night Shyamalan movies, etc.
Fourth, have or feign humility. When cornered with an award, local heroes deflect onto others, assigning credit to their mentors, their family, teachers, luck, the mailman, etc. So try to be humble. When given credit, let’s say for organizing a neighborhood cleanup day, say something like, “Oh no, I am a total idiot. I hate myself. Sometimes I try to build a time machine to go back to the past and prevent my own birth.” That sort of humility will certainly be appreciated.
I also noticed that local heroes are usually dirt poor, working in high-stress jobs that pay little: teachers, social workers, DJ’s. They tend to drive crappy, beat-up cars and shop at outlet stores where they can buy clothing by the pound. In their spare time, they watch movies and read stuff that most of us don’t know or would just rather not think about, such as “2010 Report on Global Access to Clean Drinking Water.” To increase your chance of getting a plaque, say something like, “I read in Time magazine that some absorbent mushrooms may be the solution to oil spills.” Then, when asked to elaborate, just say, “Oh no, I don’t want to dominate the conversation. How is your day going?” Now you seem both knowledgeable and humble.
There you go, just follow the above tips, and within two years, someone will give you a plaque. You are more than welcome. Remember to mention me when you’re making a speech.