And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matt 10:28)
Have you ever been in the situation, maybe at work or some other meeting, where you came up with a great idea only to be shot down? What’s worse, your idea later gets implemented? My natural response is to fight for my rights and get some recognition. You know, stand up in front of everyone like a heel and say, “That was my idea!” When really nobody cares at that point. So why do I?
Maybe it’s justice or some other noble thing like that, but mostly it’s because I really thrive on recognition. I think someone penned the term “approval junkie” for this particular personality flaw. It describes me to a tee; I fight this quite a bit. The character of John McClane from the Die Hard franchise is totally the opposite. In each movie, he basically saves the world an nobody even notices or gives him recognition. Even more amazing , McClane doesn’t seem to give a rip!
Live Free or Die Hard is no exception. If you watch any of the second disc special features you will know that the makers of this movie wanted to stay true to the Die Hard franchise (they would say ground-breaking series). These guys were fanatical. In this installment, McClane is teamed up with nobody hacker Matthew Farrell, played by Justin Long of TV series Ed fame. This time McClane and Farrell must stop superhacker Thomas Gabriel from shutting down the entire Eastern Seaboard’s utilities, which is really a guise to steal every American’s 401K and life savings. The fact that McClane is nowhere near qualified technically to fight Gabriel doesn’t hinder him whatsoever from trying to take the guy out. This and, as mentioned earlier, the fact that McClane does what he does without need for recognition MovesMe.
“You’re a Timex watch in a digital age.”
Anyone who has seen any of the other three installments in the Die Hard franchise knows that McClane is not technically savvy. You get the picture that the guy isn’t too comfortable with cell phones or text messaging, PCs or email. If he has either it was probably because he was forced to have one for his job or to keep in communication with his ex-Wife and/or kids.
Yet in the scene where Gabriel and McClane first talk, McClane very confidently tells Gabriel that he will hunt him down and not only stop his diabolical plan, but kill him if he has to. I had to laugh, thinking You and what geek army? I mean, literally all communications were down, the government systems were compromised, and Gabriel had just established that he could broadcast whatever he wanted on any screen in the US. How exactly was McClane going to find this supergeek terrorist?
Well, with John McClane, low tech is all the tech he needs. Of course, he ends up taking the guy out in the end after a few fits and starts, bumps and bruises. And that’s what I love about him: he’s unflappable and not intimidated by anyone. He doesn’t care if the bad guy he’s up against underestimates him; in fact, it seems like he prefers it, better to sneak up on them.
“Trust me kid, nobody wants to be that guy.”
The scene is McClane and Farrell on a road trip to see the Warlord: he’s a little lower than a supergeek, but in the same ballpark, apparently. Farrell is asking McClane how he gets into these situations, probably a question most of us have. He also asks him what it’s like to be a hero. McClane responds, “You know what you get for being a hero? Nothing. You get shot at. A little pat on the back, blah blah blah, attaboy. You get divorced. Your wife can’t remember your last name. Kids don’t wanna talk to you. Get to eat a lot of meals by yourself. Trust me kid, nobody wants to be that guy.”
Growing up I always thought being the hero was great. Lots of acclaim and all that. But you know, I think more often than not the real life heroes are a lot like McClane. I think of veterans, appropriate since last week we celebrated Veteran’s Day. Many of them have put their lives on the line, seen things we wouldn’t want to see, like their buddies being killed all for a cause they may not even agree with. Yet they served… selflessly. It didn’t seem remotely enough when a group of us at the Monterey Bay Aquarium clapped for them for a few seconds on Veteran’s Day.
The list of heroes goes on, to the stay-at-home mom raising her children well and keeping the home ship-shape, or the young pastor that grew a church from a living room Bible Study to a loving congregation of 500 or more that sends missionaries around the world. These are the people that don’t get enough credit or attention. Yet they go on, being that guy, as McClane calls it.
Ultimately (You knew I was going there didn’t you? This is Hollywood Jesus.) there is Jesus. He is the quintessential hero who has been underestimated and given the least amount of credit or attention. Why not? Did he accomplish anything by our human standards? No huge following, no major writings… just a dozen country bumpkin followers and that whole death on a cross like a criminal thing.
But make no mistake… no greater man has ever lived. No greater man has ever died for a better cause than the salvation of us all. Maybe you’ve looked at him like Gabriel looked at McClane, a dinosaur from a bygone era or maybe you’ve never given him the full recognition he is due. Well, I have bad news for you… at the end of your days you’ll be just as wrong as Gabriel was, with much worse consequences.
I’d reconsider as the verse says above…