By Irving Leemon, Professionally Opinionated Contributing Columnist
I’ve noticed the apparent increase over the last several years in the number of people who join a large crowd with a ‘purpose’. It can be waiting for a store to open with the latest gadget for sale, to ‘make a political statement’, to buy tickets to a concert or ball game, to “watch a trial”, or anything else. I believe that there are two causes for this phenomenon. The first is that there are more people out of work with nothing better to do.
These people are looking for excitement and entertainment. The second is the enormous increase in people who were raised in single parent homes. I believe that many of them are trying to fill the need of belonging to a group, however temporarily. We tend to want to be part of a ‘group’, or ‘herd’, or ‘pack’. We want to be part of a family group, a professional organization, a team, etc. We see the herd extinct within us every day. An example is when the freeway is not too crowded and cars are moving along the freeway in groups, or packs. Often, if one sees a group of cars not too far ahead or behind, an attempt is made to catch up to it, (or god forbid) slow down, and become part of it.
Often there is a jostling to become the first, or leader of the pack. If you stand on a bridge over a freeway and look down you will see this. If you go to a store or bank most of the time you’ll notice that there is a group of people already there and you have to stand in line to be served. Of course, there are exemptions to this; if one is conscious of it, one can time those trips so that the lines are shorter, or none existent. Yes, I do know that jobs force most of us to be on the freeways at the same time and to run most errands at the same time of day. But when we have a choice we tend to do things at the same time as others, whether consciously, or unconsciously.