Flash Mobs
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Flash Mobs     453 Words

Heard about the new fad currently sweeping the country? It’s called a "flash mob". Apparently this is a big deal amongst the younger, computer-connected set. Flash mobs, for those of you not yet "connected", involve individuals assembling at a designated public place, doing something random and then dispersing.

Frankly, I don’t know what the big deal is. My family has been flash mobbing me for years.

Take family dinners, for example. From out of nowhere my husband and children will converge around the table, randomly suck down food, belch conversation and then almost instantly disperse, usually leaving me, fork poised in mid-air, still waiting to take my first bite.

A variation on this occurs around the pantry which, I’ll modestly say, contains some of the finest examples of junk food available. At random times during the day all the neighborhood children will gather at the pantry. A buzzing much like locusts can be heard, followed by a flurry of hands and then the little patter of feet as this version of a flash mob quickly disperses.

Over the years, I’ve become quite used to being flash mobbed. In fact, part of the art of flash mobbing, if you will, involves being able to motivate a group of people to perform these "random acts". I’ve become quite adept at chumming a flash mob. Much as setting out a plate of food will attract flies, just put out a bag of un-inflated balloons and in short order you’ll have a mob of children around your garden hose itching for a water balloon fight. Throw a refrigerator box on the front lawn and you’ve got a flash mob of new housing residents.

Just like fishing, there’s some bait that won’t work to attract a mob. In fact, some things can be classified as flash mob repellents. For example, my entire family and several of their friends can be gathered in front of the television cheering a playoff game. But like some kind of super genetically engineered bats, their sonic ears hear the whisper click of the dishwasher timer indicating it’s time to be unloaded and I suddenly become the lone guy in the stadium moving a push broom through peanut casings.

It’s the same thing with laundry. At the beep of the dryer my family can go from zero to three blocks away in sixty seconds.

So don’t tell me about mobs of people berating their spoons in a shopping mall food court or shouting lines from famous plays in front of a theatre complex. I’m unimpressed. After all, imagine the flash mob I can attract with a pile of dirt and a garden hose.

2004 Nancy Franklin. All rights reserved