I remember a joke from when I was a kid. We’d approach some other kid and ask them, “Does your mother pay you to be good?” Of course they’d say, “No!” We’d then laugh and proclaim, “Then you’re good for nothing!” Really funny stuff…when you’re ten.
This comes to mind after reading about the Livorno Port Authority Chief, Gregorio De Falco, who was on duty when the cruise ship Costa Concordia ran aground off Giglio, Tuscany. He is suddenly being hailed as a hero for ordering the ship’s captain back aboard the damaged ship, and coordinating the rescue effort. Never mind that De Falco doesn’t see it that way:
“Please stop talking about me,” Italian media quoted De Falco as saying. “It is my job to save lives.”
His wife agrees:
“People who simply live up to their everyday responsibilities are suddenly becoming idols, personalities and heroes in this country,” she commented with some concern.
Even some Italians are baffled at the sudden interest in De Falco:
“But why is someone who does his job and sticks to the rules suddenly a hero in Italy?” one Internet commentator wondered.
(All quotes taken from a Boston Herald article.)
I’m not for a moment insinuating that De Falco isn’t worthy of praise. In spite of his modesty and training, someone who keeps their head in an emergency is a hero. Period.
However, it must be said that people who “do their job and stick to the rules” are becoming increasingly rare. Oddly enough, the people most likely to do that are normal, ordinary people who will never get a moment of limelight, while the people who are regularly exposed to publicity seem to be the least likely to do what they’re supposed to do, even though it’s a sure bet they’ll get caught. It really makes no sense.
The world needs more good-for-nothing people.