Humans need heroes. In ancient times, we invented myths involving great champions who defended good and battled evil. I guess that’s before the Greeks came along and invented myths of gods who just enjoyed drinking and fighting and fornicating, though.
For whatever reason, modern people think they’re above heroes. There’s no room for fun myths when science and logic must be king. Heck, people even debate these days whether they want their children to believe in Santa Claus. I still believe in Santa Claus, but that’s because I never progressed past a certain age. However, our love of heroes still lingers, despite what our love of logic and reason may dictate.
These days, though, we translate our idea of heroes into strictly fictional stories about superhumans. People with greater power than our own. The Dark Knight trilogy and the huge commercial success of The Avengers movie recently proved that we don’t really grow up when we get older, we just need our stories to be more unbelievable. I am thankful, though, that in these dark times when we don’t believe in heroes, I have one in my very neighborhood keeping us all safe. I have an actual superhero, standing watch over the small area I call home.
I have a neighborhood superhero, and his name is Intersection Dog. He only comes out at night (he’s a maneater) and even then his schedule is sporadic. But just a right turn and a street’s length away from my house, you can find him proudly perching, monitoring the streets. Stanton Martin (RIP) has been the only one to successfully snag some photographic evidence of Intersection Dog (NOTE: Since then, many more Intersection Dog sightings have occurred, with more documented evidence. Just go on Instagram and search for #IntersectionDog). The elusive hero is normally so sneaky you hardly notice his presence.
He stands proudly in different yards of this particular intersection, his all white appearance masked by a single black spot on his eye. Nobody knows where he lives. Nobody knows who owns him. Sometimes he is seen walking to a new patrol spot, sometimes he is emerging from some bushes, and sometimes he is nowhere to be seen. All of those things, though, point to him staying busy, staying vigilant, trying to keep his intersection safe. But on the rare nights when you see him, standing proudly in a yard just staring at cars, your heart is full of joy and security, for you know that the Intersection Dog has your back.
These are dark days we live in. There are dangerous streets even in my own city. But I can take heart, because I know that there is at least one dog who stands alert, staring down drivers and barking at spinning wheels. He is there because he cares, and for that, I must care as well.
Intersection Dog stands as an inspiration to us all. He has a very distinct, singular purpose to what he does. He cares not for the safety and security of a dog house or a warm bed. He cares about his intersection. He cares about us. There is something about Intersection Dog that seriously makes me happy. When I reach that intersection, my eyes are peeled, scanning for his presence. I don’t know what it is, exactly, that interests me so much about him. It’s just a big dog who enjoys looking at traffic. He really shouldn’t be anything more to me than that. I don’t even know if it’s a boy or a girl, actually.
Yet Intersection Dog means a lot to me regardless, and I think it’s because in my head, he really is a hero. In my head, he really does stand watch, fighting the evil that threatens our intersection. In my head, he really does care about the residents of the neighborhood. Maybe I just want there to be a real superhero. Maybe in my darker and more cynical moments, I lose sight of the goodness in the world. Maybe Twitter throws too many political opinions at me at once, or I’m told by every blog I see that the Church is screwed up and all of my personal convictions are wrong. Maybe I sink too far into a pit of anger at everyone around me, and maybe, just maybe Intersection Dog can at least save me from that.
He really is a symbol to me, or at least a reminder. He makes me giddy when I look out for him, and happy every time I am fortunate enough to see him. I think I just need a hero every now and then to break a bit of the cynical shell I tend to develop. And somehow, a big nameless dog is my hero.
We need heroes, at the very least to save us from ourselves. While no superheroes are flying around in capes fighting crime around us, they still exist in the areas of our hearts and minds that need somebody to stand up for good.
I think people will always have a need for a hero ingrained in us. Hopefully for the Christian, we know where our hope lies. Sometimes, though, we need a little something on earth to remind us that all is not lost. Sometimes, we need a superhero.
Sometimes we have to turn to a dog to fill that void, and when we do, this is what happens.