Canadian Heroes

What makes a hero sandwich?

By Jacqueline Roy
Regina, Saskatchewan

Hero: many people use the word as a slang term for submarine sandwich. Now hold on a minute! No, I am not planning to blab on about my favorite hoagie for the next five minutes! Although I must admit the idea was quite tempting…

I was in a quandary when my teacher first handed me this assignment. Why? Well, problemo numero uno: I, Jacqueline Roy, did not have a hero, or heroine for that matter. I therefore spent three weeks racking my brain to come up with some ideas, without much success. At least, besides the sandwich, but my teacher might have failed to see the humor in that… This was impossible! Now you tell me: how could I possibly write an essay about my hero/heroine, if I did not have one to begin with?

I looked up "hero" in several dictionaries, and failed to comprehend their definitions. Then I recalled having heard someone say a hero is someone who has saved your life. In some twisted, contorted way, this idea merged with my one about subs, and I realized that I do in fact have a hero… That something has saved my life.

I present you with my hero. First, let us start with the basics. Two pieces of substantial, whole-wheat bread, my mother, and, you guessed it, my father. You see, they are the ones who help me put it all together, and without them, the sandwich simply would not exist.

Next, the vegetables. It’s amazing how onions, lettuce and tomatoes can all be thrown into the same category, despite their tremendous appearance differences. How could I better describe my friends? Every one of them has a unique characteristic that sets them apart. One of them is always there to help me out, who it is depends on whether I need vitamin A or B.

Let us not forget the cheese! Some Stilton, some Roquefort. My roots, my cultures, Canada’s two official languages.

Then there is the meat: at the base of any flesh-eater's sandwich. Salami, pepperoni, ham, I like putting a wide variety in there. Here we have all the people who make up what my country is today. Each one has their different story, their different background. All of Canadian history’s role models, from Jacques Cartier, to Donovan Bailey, through to my near-future idols.

I spice the whole thing up with some condiments. Some people say history is a bit bland, so I suppose it is necessary to add a little mustard or mayo. Here we have my older brother, always giving me a little encouraging push, and teaching me new things.

Yes, I know what you are thinking. I promised you this essay was to be about someone saving my life, not about a sandwich! Wrong: I said something, not someone.

And it was. My hero sandwich provides me with all I need to survive: nutrients from all of the four food groups, which ease my hunger pains. It saves me from starving to death.

Heroes and heroines are not necessarily people who catch us before we fall off a cliff. No, they are everyday people whose everyday actions inspire us and make us see the world in a new and bright light. They encourage us to use our potential and live our lives to their fullest.

I encourage you to picture your heroes, heroines and those of others. Whether they be Roberta Bondar, or your next door neighbour, what makes them worthy of this title? I think you will find it is because, in their own special ways, they make our lives worth living.