That Hero Guy

Three things happened to Georgie on his first day back at school.

The first was a realization. Particularly, the realization that, at forty-three, he was the oldest person in most of his classes. He had considered this fact when applying for the undergraduate program in arts, but it was still a shock to see how inexperienced, yet so fully confident, his classmates were.

The second happening was a realization that he needed to change his name. This coincided with the first happening, whereby Georgie came to the decision, halfway through the reading of the register, that he could no longer maintain the child-like “Georgie”, and must instead become “George”. It was sad, for Georgie, to have to abandon that last vestige of his childhood, the name his parents had called him so many times, the name by which he had been known to his friends for so many years. But here, he must be George. It fit the looks he received of, “who is the old guy?”

The third event was a heart attack. Not Georgie’s heart, but that of one of his professors. Most were fairly young – some younger than Georgie himself – but one professor was an impressive age, with grey hair and a face like a prune.

Georgie watched as, halfway through the lecture, this geriatric learned man started to shake his left arm, clench his left fist. Georgie stood, his years as a paramedic kicking in, but the professor waved him down. It wasn’t until the man collapsed that Georgie lept into action, while his classmates glanced up from their laptops, wondering what was interrupting their Facebook time.

Georgie continued CPR while commanding the students around him to call 911, and the professor ultimate pulled through. Georgie – now George, or, “That Hero Guy” – became a brief campus celebrity, before fading back into the invisibility of student life.

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