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Languages are sacred and have evolved through the centuries, sometimes for the better and certainly for the worse on occasion. When it comes to the downsides, one word being butchered in recent times is the corruption of the ‘legend’ description. Our understanding has been corrupted due to its adoption by morons who now attribute the title to any minor act. The word 'legend' is thrown about for the most common of achievements these days. Now, it's traditionally rare use when attached to an individual's tale of awesomeness has well and truly died. However, in contrast to it’s meaning fading altogether out of the English language, its use couldn't be rifer.
No longer are tales of legends shared and passed along as sacred stories. Instead, legends are anointed each night in the local spoons for downing three pints of Strongbow original, a feat which is only impressive when I remember it's likeliness to piss. Collin's Dictionary defines the referral of someone as a legend to mean 'very famous and admired by a lot of people.' No one admires you 'Bradders,' you're an idiot cheered on by idiots. Apart from your ability to restrain from chundering when drinking that poison, there is nothing of value worth admiring.
Things are different in this day and age though and I feel that the growth of lad culture has played a key role. The urban dictionary's published definition demonstrates this change with a legend said to be 'any person who is funny, reckless, original and sensitive in the right measures.' Being reckless and funny are traits that characters often associated with the lad culture have a great amount of. With the growth of this culture, the legend status has been over-used and subsequently de-valued as a result. Now for someone who has grown up and watched the legendary fictional tales of the likes of Conan the Barbarian and Rocky, I am fully against the idea that in reality, anyone can achieve this status. It is earned.
Step forward John Waddell. A man whose story of bravery and determination should epitomise a worthily named 'legend.' The American got himself into a bind when he broke both legs having fallen into an abandoned mine shaft he intended to explore for gold in Arizona. Not only was the poor sod stuck in the dark for 48 hours in this sorry state, he was also accompanied by poisonous snakes. Unlucky for him, state wildlife officials say that there are 13 different types of poisonous snake in the state, adding even danger to an already troublesome scenario. He was eventually rescued and taken to hospital with a full recovery expected from the injuries he sustained in the ordeal. This is the stuff of legend.
This story should stand out more, but due to the dilution of what it is to be a 'legend,' it is lost amongst the rest, unfortunately, seen as no more impressive than the amount of liver damage one of the 'bros' can take before redecorating his toilet. The story would have caught the eye of some newsreaders when it broke on October 19th but quickly faded into nothing within a day or so, illustrating our 21st-century nonchalance to these feats, a tragedy when considering that Mr. Wardell’s tale does more than match up to the tale-turned-Hollywood blockbuster 127 hours.
Quit throwing out the 'legend' label as we struggle enough already now to see and behold true legendary acts. In time, the man himself will proudly retell his story, one that will carry much more bravery that some alcohol-fuelled macho tale ever could.