People are my inspiration for most of these newsletters. I’m fascinated by how people interact with each other, how people justify the things that they do, and how social media has become an integral part of many people’s lives. One aspect that often gets overlooked is how stubborn people can be, and I figured I’d use a very real example to prove my point here.
Most college students move into their dorms or apartments at the end of August because most leases align with the beginning of the school year. In Boston, this is referred to as “Moving Season” as the roads and sidewalks get packed with moving trucks, boxes, and furniture left behind for anyone coming along with enough room to pick it up. In one part of town near Fenway Park, there’s a street named Storrow Drive that passes under Longfellow Bridge. The bridge is a low hanging bridge with a clearance of 10.5 feet, and most box trucks have a height of 12.5 feet, so you can start to see the dilemma here.
There are dozens of signs warning passengers on Storrow Drive that if they attempt to drive a truck or bus down past Longfellow Bridge it will be too tall and will get damaged there, and usually the trucks get stuck under the bridge and make bad traffic even worse. The phenomenon is known as “getting Storrowed” and has been happening for at least 40 years. For one reason or another, year after year, people bypass all of the literal warning signs and get their truck stuck and their belongings and pride damaged in the process. And I can’t help but wonder why does this keep happening.
Marketing studies have shown that in order for something to get stuck in someone’s brain, they have to be told that thing at least seven times. This basically means that hearing, learning and most importantly memory are all tied to repetition. Why is it that the first six times don’t do the trick? Are people too stubborn? Are we too lazy? Are we all procrastinators? Are human beings by design reactive instead of being proactive? And what would it take to get people to stop driving box trucks under a low hanging bridge?
As I run through all of these scenarios, I can’t help but worry that the same thought process that allows someone to bypass all of the warning signs and get literally stuck underneath a bridge is the same thought process that people are now using to justify not being vaccinated. By this point, everyone’s heard at least seven times how the vaccine is saving lives, and how the only people that are getting hospitalized are all unvaccinated, and how the Pfizer vaccine recently got FDA approval, but will any of it matter if someone has simply decided they don’t want to listen? Is there anything we can do to appeal to this person that has decided they’re going to drive this truck past all of the warning signs?
Or, will people continue to get Storrowed?
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