I sometimes lie in bed fantasising about acts of bravery. Our house is being burgled. This actually happened, except I wasn't there.
How would I be under fire? Would I show courage? I sometimes lie in bed fantasising about acts of bravery. There is a specific scenario. Our house is being burgled. This actually happened, except I wasn't there.
In my imaginings I am there. The thieves break in through a hall window and I, hearing them, immediately run to a small cupboard where I fetch the safe keys. The safe is some distance from where they broke in and there is plenty to steal before they get there. Inside the safe I grab my shotgun and a cartridge belt. I then shut the safe and dash out through a back door and round to the front of the house.
Hiding by the hedge, I phone two farmers to come and block the driveway with their tractors, then I call the police. Then silently I creep up to where the thieves are loading my now stolen goods into their car, shoot the wheels and then turn my gun on the thieves.
Seeing my weapon the thieves immediately surrender, the burly farmers arrive to help secure the scene and soon after the cops come and arrest the men. I, of course, am a hero.
But I wasn't there so that never happened. We just had a load of stuffstolen and the police did, er, well let's say they did not catch the criminals.
These thoughts occur to me as my sister¹s delightfully charming, polite and good-natured fiancée was mugged and beaten up in Brixton last week. He was walking home from the pub when three youths (for want of a better word) smashed him in the face, knocking him to the ground and knocking him out. They took his phone.
Here's what I would have done. Sensing the youth charging at me I would have deftly sidestepped the blow and tripped him up. As he crashed to the floor I would have elbowed the second assailant in the face, kicked the third in the stomach and then swivelling hard grabbed the fourth youth by the arm, twisting it round leaving him in agony.
The guys picking themselves off the floor would cower and edge backwards pleading for forgiveness.
But alas! I wasn¹t on hand to display these acts of extraordinary courage, hitherto unforeseen strength and bravado.
Then I remember the time I was, very nearly, myself hit to the ground. It was on campus one evening at university when one of a few local thugs, arriving to taunt us, decided to make a swipe at me.
He caught me on the chin. I staggered backwards, more in shock than pain. I looked at him like a wounded puppy then, as they decided there were better faces to smash elsewhere, burst into tears.
But that was almost 20 years ago. I have since grown in confidence, strength and bravado.
Or have I? I just hope to god I don't get the chance to find out.
Meanwhile, I shall dream on about jumping out of my trench and charging across No Man's Land without fear, dashing into burning houses to rescue children and cute dogs and not to mention make fine speeches to crowds of thousands urging them to fight the common enemy.