Moments before the race began, one of the organizers stood in front of the crowd of runners to go over the directions yet again; “Runners of the 4k, go up to the intersection, take a hard right, and head up the hill there....” he said....
You never know when a teaching moment about what human beings really are will jump out at you.
On Thursday morning I attended the 7th annual Morton Firecracker 4k/2k Run Walk, starting in the Morton park.
The annual run takes people through Morton’s residential streets, so there are lots of twists and curves. The organizers are always very good about setting up volunteers to guide the runners through the route.
Moments before the race began, one of the organizers stood in front of the crowd of runners to go over the directions yet again.
“Runners of the 4k, go up to the intersection, take a hard right, and head up the hill there....” he said.
When he finished, one of the participants asked him what the route for the 2k runners was.
The organizer yelled out the rules again. “Runners for the 2k start out with the same route. You go up to the intersection there, take a hard right, and head up the hill there....”
Okay, fine, fair enough.
Then, after the national anthem, the siren went off to start the race. The assembled runners jogged up to the first intersection...
...and at least half of them turned left and headed off down the road in the opposite direction of where it had been repeatedly explained were supposed to go.
One of the runners in front didn’t pay attention to the rules, took off in the wrong direction, and was cheerfully followed by at least half the other runners.
The organizers stood there, open-mouthed. The guides at the first section tried to herd the last stragglers to run to the right and up the hill. Several spectators called out to the runners going left, “Hey, you’re going the wrong way!”
The organizers and spectators stood there by the park shelter, watching half the runners circle the park and disappear up in some unknown direction along Morton’s streets.
“Where are they going?” a spectator asked.
“I don’t know. They’re just running,” an organizer said.
Lesson: low-information citizens will can always be counted on to follow a bad leader off into the wrong direction. When it happens, the people who actually know what’s going on can usually just stand there helplessly and watch no matter how much they try to warn the herd.
. . . . .
I’ve written a lot about the Dixon family’s schnauzers, Rufus the Wonder Dog and his little sister, Raffi the Dog of Destiny.
Well, last week I bumped into the breeders we got them from, and saw Rufus and Raffi’s parents, Archie and Annie.
Rufus and Raffi have always struck me as looking exactly like their parents, except with the sexes reversed. Rufus looks just like his mom, Annie, while Raffi is a near ringer for her father, Archie.
This time when I saw Archie and Annie, there was a difference. For the first time, they looked old. I got a preview of what Rufus and Raffi will be like in another eight or so years, when they’re elderly themselves. Yes, I know aging is a natural part of life, but when you’re caught off guard by something like that, it can be very surprising and disturbing.
Somewhere out there is a senior citizen who looks like what I’ll look like in another 30 or 40 years. If you seem him, don’t point him out to me. I’m not sure I want to know.