After a weekend of studying and assessing what makes an action hero I’ve decided that I simply cannot be one. It’s not due to a lack of physical prowess or a lack of mental ability or anything like that. No, my reasons are far more practical. First off, my memory sucks. You need to have awesome memory to be an action star. I’ll memorize something on Monday and forget it by Friday (unless it’s a sports statistic, which for whatever reason I’ll remember til the day I die.) I’m also not all that observant. When I’m going somewhere I keep my mind set on where I’m going and what I’ve got to do, I don’t think about my surroundings all that often. Now, if someone started shooting at me I’d probably notice, but only if said person is directly in my line of sight and no more than ten meters away. That’s another reason I can’t be an action star: poor vision. I used to have awesome vision, but then I got glasses. I blame my Optometrist. It’s clear to me that my vision was perfect until I saw that guy, he ruined my ability to be an action star. He probably thinks that I’ve forgotten because my memory sucks, but one day he’ll be in for one unbelievably unexpected wake-up call.
If you watch an action movie one thing that action stars have to do a lot of is running. I can do that. I really can, but I need to do some preparation first. If I was just walking along and somebody attacked me with ninja stars I’d be in a poor position to respond because I tend to wear loose fitting clothing. It’s tough to run in loose fitting clothing. I’m also really bad with directions. If I got kidnapped I’d be one hundred percent dependent on someone rescuing me because whether they put a bag on my head or not there’s just no way that I’m going to be able to remember how I got there. I can’t remember where I park half the time and even if someone writes down directions to get somewhere I’ll manage to screw it up. It seems like action stars need to be able to remember how to get places. Especially in foreign locales. I wouldn’t be good at that unless I had time to prepare. Lack of preparation seems to be something that one must be able to easily overcome to be an action star and I’m not sure that’s something that I could do. I benefit from the fact that I think through everything a million different ways and if someone took that away from me I’d be pretty much screwed.
One area that I would be pretty good at is hanging on to things. It seems like there always comes a point in an action movie where the main character needs to “hang on” (you know this because usually another character shouts this at him like he needed to be reminded that hanging on was integral to his survival of said situation.) I could totally do that. What I wouldn’t be able to do is hold on to someone else. I might be able to do it for a few seconds, but after that you’re on your own. I’ve never had good jumping skills though. I was never a long jump champion or anything nor have I ever had particularly good balance. Those two things would probably come back to haunt me if I decided to try and be an action star. I’d fall off every high place that I found myself on and that would really suck for me because I’m terrified of heights. Falling to my death has always seemed like a rather rough way to go. First of all you can forget about that open casket scenario because your body is going to completely shatter and I’m also not wild about thinking about death for however long it takes for me to actually die.
One thing that I am pretty good at however is overcoming obstacles. If I’m allowed enough time to think my way through a situation I can usually do it, but if it comes to having to make a split-second decision I’m not so good at that. So I guess it’s all good unless your life depends on my decision-making abilities in the clutch. Empathy isn’t something you really want in an action star either. I’d be thinking about the situation from the point of view of the bad guy and probably end up feeling bad for the guy. That can’t be a good thing if you’re trying to deal with an unsavory character. I’m also not particularly good at doing Macgyver type things. I can’t put together plastic explosives given ten minutes in the fertilizer section nor can I take apart a gun in two minutes without oil (this seems to be a pre-requisite nowadays.) I’m also not a terribly good swimmer. I’d do alright mind you. It’s not like I’d drown in five minutes or anything, but if left unattended for say a half hour or so then I may be in a bit of trouble. I can’t drive a motorcycle, helicopter, airplane, or fighter jet either.
Overall, I think we all like to think that we could do some of the action star stuff like escape from a burning building or outrun an enemy with a flame thrower or what have you, but think about it practically for a minute. Are you really going to be able to jump building to building in Budapest? Can you overpower a kidnapper and run to safety? Can you jump out of a moving car and roll over to shoot out the car next to you’s wheels? We’d all like to think so, but the laws of perpetual motion would doom most of us and for others our less than nimble feet might preclude us from being able to balance on that building in Budapest.