Aprill Brandon is a feature columnist who writes about life for the Victoria Advocate.

Aprill Brandon

Aprill Brandon

In this age of larger-than-life characters, there lurks in the shadows another archetype. One that often gets overlooked in all the noise and chaos. Yet, they are content to stoically remain on the sidelines, emerging only in times of great need.

The quiet hero.

They can be any gender, any race, any age. The only thing they have in common is that they ask for nothing in return. They are the mythic ones whose mild mannered alter-ego is exactly the same as their mild-mannered superhero persona.

Which brings me to Randy. He’s our landlord’s loyal handyman. Randy the Handyman, if you will. We’ve known him for almost a decade now. We’ve known his assistant, Jacob, for quite a few years now, too. It was these two quiet heroes who strode bravely into our house yesterday, on a mission to fix our garbage disposal, unaware of the hurricane they were about to enter. For, unbeknownst to them, our preschooler and first grader haven’t seen the inside of a school since March. They haven’t had a sleepover in almost a year. They haven’t been to a birthday party or attended a family reunion or been to a festival or gone on vacation in a long, long time. In short, they were desperate for socialization.

It was the perfect storm.

And so, in honor of these noble yet unsuspecting gentlemen, I immediately got out my laptop and transcribed what followed as accurately as I possibly could.

Knock at door

Hi! Randy! Hi! Hey, Randy!

Hey! Hey, Randy! Look at my toy! Randy!

What’s that other guy’s name again?

Hey! Hi, Jacob! Jacob, hey, hi!

Randy, I lost four teeth!

I have pink headphones, want to see?

I have blue ones!

Have you ever read the book “Too Many Toys?” Hey Randy, have you ever read the book “Too Many Toys?”

I said I have blue ones! Blue headphones! Hey, Randy!

Hey Jacob! Have you ever read “Too Many Toys?”

Hey Randy, I plug my headphones into the little hole on my tablet. Just like this.

There’s a funny part where the mom goes, “Spencer, you have too many toys!” What are you guys doing?

Hey Randy! Do you want to see the comic book I wrote?

Hey, our dog died.

Yeah, our dog died.

Can I play with your tools?

What’s that thing do?

Hey, Jacob, can I have this?

What’s a garbage disposal?

Did they teach you how to fix this in school?

Hey, we just learned about germs today.

Hey! Guys! Look what I can do!

Look at my purse! Hey, Randy! I keep all the shiny stuff in here. Do you guys like shiny stuff?

I made a spaceship out of Legos! Or maybe it’s a boat.

Hey, Jacob, are you a cowboy? You look like a cowboy.

How old are you, Randy? Because you look old.

Hey! Watch me do this! Are you watching? Watch.

Where are you putting the old ... what’s that thing called again?

Can I help?

Yeah, hey, can I help?

Did you know when dogs die they go over the rainbow bridge?

My favorite food is mac and cheese! What’s your favorite food? Is it cupcakes?

This went on for more than an hour. And not only did these two men not slaughter my entire family with a socket wrench, they actually listened to everything my kids hurled rapid-fire at them and answered all their questions and stopped numerous times to, “Watch this!”

All while also trying to do their jobs.

All while keeping big smiles on their faces.

Yes, not all heroes wear capes. Some simply wear a toolbelt and give some kindly attention to two little kids bravely trying to weather a pandemic.

Hey, Randy.

Hey, Jacob.

Thank you.

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Aprill Brandon is a columnist for the Advocate. Her column runs every two weeks in the Your Life section. Comment on this story at VictoriaAdvocate.com.

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gregory goetz

These columns are always great. I have sent some to my DIL who has 4 girls 8y and less. Relates to today's cartoon Family Circus about peacemakers.

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