Grrr! Silly Questions; Remembering Heroes

Silly Questions | Heroes | The Real Deal Video | Your Grrrs

What's With All the Questions?

It's one thing when a child is full of curiosity and thinks that you, the adult, knows all the answers to all his questions.

Like, "Why does the sun go away every night, daddy?" or something cute like that.

But when it's your buddy or your spouse or your co-worker with all the questions, after a while you begin to wonder what the heck is wrong with them.

Like when you get cut off by a car on the highway and the backseat driver asks, "Where does he think he's going?"

Gee, I really don't know. Or how about, "Why does that police officer have that car pulled over?" or "What's with all this traffic today?"

Again, I don't know. Not only do I not know, but I most likely don't care. The traffic gods did not e-mail me with their plans this morning.

And some questions can be just so silly and so aggravating.

Like when you get up from your favorite chair to get a soda or use the bathroom and you get: "Watcha doing? Where ya going?" from your spouse.

Well, honey, I live here, remember? I'm going to the bathroom. Is this something I'm going to have to answer to for the rest of the marriage?

Or you relay to a co-worker that "Hey, I just heard they hired that guy from down the block," and you get a succession of questions like, "How much are they paying him? What's he going to be doing? Is he our new boss? What does this mean for us?"

I don't know. All I know is that they hired the guy from down the block. I know as much as you now. Kind of makes you sorry you said anything at all.

Now of course, if you are the person everybody thinks knows everything, you probably should be at least flattered to an extent. So when you're Grrr'd with all the questions, just grind your teeth, and pull something out of your hat. Eventually they'll see you don't know that much about random events, and that will be a good day.

The last time someone asked "What's going on over there?" when we passed three police cars with their lights on on the side of the road, I made up a story about how they found a dead body in the woods up the block and are searching the woods for a murder weapon. I even went so far as to point to one and describe him as the "Gil Grissom" of the local police force.

After a while I got, "you're making this up." No!


We hear a lot about heroes these days.

Just this week, two Los Angeles police officers and two bystanders helped pull a man to safety as his car was engulfed in flames. The four are being hailed as heroes in the media.

I say we don't see enough stories like these. That's why a great big non-Grrr! goes out to the New York City borough of Brooklyn.

On Oct. 19, 1981, Brooklyn honored late Marine Thomas P. Riccardi and designated the day as a memorial to him.

The dedication was made at the Red Hook Marine Terminal and was the first of its kind on the Brooklyn Waterfront.

Those who knew and loved Tommy as a longshoreman on the waterfront knew he saw plenty of action in Korea, knew he was a rough and tumble guy, but most had no idea of the honors that were bestowed upon him for his acts of bravery in Korea.

They did not know he was the kind of hero they saw only in the movies, until after his death, when they discovered his medals and commendations from his service in the Korean War while going through his belongings at his home.

The plaque that still stands on the pier notes that on Nov. 3, 1950, Riccardi single handedly charged and destroyed two enemy machine gun emplacements while sustaining wounds for which he was given a Silver Star and Purple Heart. He would receive an additional Silver Star later in the war.

It is important to remember men and women like this who make our country safer, especially in the present, while fighting the War on Terror. Heroes are often made by circumstance, but more often than not, place themselves voluntarily in those circumstances, like the men and women of our armed services and the civil servants like firefighters and police officers.

It is a duty for everyone to remember those who don’t trumpet their own glories.

Who are the heroes in your neighborhood? They could be firefighters, police officers, the shop owner who extends credit to you in your time of need or the neighbor who is always there to lend a helping hand.

The hero could also be someone you'd least expect, whose courage and selflessness in the face of grave danger saved countless lives a long, long time ago. It could even be you.

Your Grrrs

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Mike Straka is the director of operations and special projects for, writes the Grrr! Column and hosts the weekly "The Real Deal" webcast on and