Throw in the red flag

In a recent episode of NBC’s “Heroes,” a man (Peter Petrelli) dashed into a violent encounter between a high school cheerleader (Claire Bennet) and her assailant.

Heroically, Peter was able to hold off her would-be killer, which gave Claire time to escape. The fight knocked Peter unconscious, but when he came to his senses the killer had left, and the police arrived. Seeing only Peter on the scene, the police harshly handcuffed him and took him to jail.

After watching this course of events unfold, I was frustrated to see the hero take the blame. It didn’t seem fair, and it made me think about the times I had similar misunderstandings muddle things in my own life.

I let the thought slip away, but after watching several football games over the weekend, I hatched a master plan to fix these types of misunderstandings: instant replay in life! It would be a little complicated, but possible.

Satellites would be used to record us. Each person would be equipped with a red flag, and a committee would have to be devised to determine whether the “call” in your life stands or is overturned.

Imagine if Peter Petrelli could have tossed in his red flag as the police were coming to cuff him.

The police would then have to stand patiently, wait for a response from the life replay officials and then go about their business, realizing they were wrong, and the hero would go free.

And think about how this could be useful in your own life. Maybe your boyfriend or girlfriend thought you were cheating. Simply throw in the red flag and await the decision.

In 2005, instant replay was used 86 times in Mountain West Conference football games to determine whether or not to overturn a call made on the field.

Of those 86, 68 were confirmed and 18 (or 21 percent) were overturned.

With that in mind, penalties would have to be set. In football, a timeout is taken away if the call isn’t reversed. Suppose you think you’re right about something, so you decide to throw in your red flag, only to find out you actually were wrong.

If you do this, your red flag would be confiscated for 30 days–which would be ill-timed if you had to rescue a distraught cheerleader from her would-be murderer.

It could also be used for practical reasons. Maybe you finally got the digits from your crush and you wrote it on your hand, but somehow it wiped away!

Disaster? Not with instant replay. Just throw in the flag, say something like, “I think the number was (make up a false number),” and the replay officials would say, “Wrong, it’s really (correct number).” You’d be penalized, but it would be worth it.

Or if your friend told you some elaborate story about how he did these amazing things and you don’t believe him, toss in the flag. You could catch him in his lies or be shocked that it was actually true.

So, keep those red flags handy–you may need them. And even if this great plan never goes through, you could still keep a red flag on you to toss out every now and then. It may catch people by surprise.

And just so you know, I’ve got dibs on the red flag patents.