Years ago, being mobbed might have landed you in the hospital, jail or worse yet, dead at the hands of gangsters or hoodlums. Today, the concept of being mobbed has taken on a whole new and, might I add, delightful meaning.
Packed with suspense from start to finish, the TV show "Mobbed" often leaves viewers in tears or at least with a deep sense of satisfaction over happy endings.
If you've never watched it, you're in for a real treat. Daring and devious host Howie Mandel, whose favorite show as a kid was "Candid Camera," puts the hidden-camera spin on the "flash mob" scene.
For those who don't watch much television, think of a flash mob as a surprise party on steroids with what appears to be a spontaneous public performance of song and dance. Like surprise parties, flash mobs begin suddenly with one person, grow to dozens and sometimes hundreds, who perform and then quickly disappear.
In the program "Mobbed," Mandel and his crew coordinate ordinary people along with professionals to help their special guests plan extraordinary surprises for friends, family or co-workers.
This reality show masterfully arranges significant moments, and dare I say, passages in life: confessions, vindications, proposals, acceptances, new beginnings and any number of responses to life's most painful and joyful milestones.
Unsuspecting stars are totally surprised at the climax of this real life drama: a husband learns his wife is pregnant, an applicant finds out she got the job, a guy proposes to his sweetheart or a father asks for forgiveness. These all play out stunningly in choreographed musical stories.
Throughout the hour, guests prepare and practice for their reveals, all the while receiving guidance and tips from Mandel. Then, on the big day, hidden cameras roll and the mob is set in motion.
Locally, residents of Le Mars, IA, have taken the idea of being mobbed to a new level with "cash mobs." Dozens of townspeople suddenly appear at local businesses, each spending at least $20. A fantastic way to show support, cash mobs suddenly boost small business sales.
Flash mobs have been so successful in elevating people's spirits, why not arrange flash mobs for stay-at-home parents at their wits end over the 24-hour nurturing, hovering, responding, ever so necessary in their jobs as primary caregivers?
How about grumpy bosses who love to pick at what's wrong and rarely find the good? A flash mob of employees singing, dancing and speaking truth to power might change things.
I could see flash mobs for moms who don't feel appreciated, for dads who need to know they are loved, for teachers who spend all day shaping and inspiring future generations, for maintenance workers who empty trash bins, clean toilets and fix leaky roofs.
What about flash mobs for the elderly who have been left alone, for the homeless who have nothing to turn to except, perhaps, a shopping cart loaded down with what's left of their lives or simply for lonely souls in general.
So if you're thinking there's nothing right with the world these days, you're wrong. Flash mobs are pretty darn right.
Whether you call them healing tonics, miraculous antidotes or incredible cure-alls, flash mobs are an amazing thing to watch unfold.
And the show "Mobbed"? Priceless.
2012 © Copyright Paula Damon. A resident of Southeast South Dakota, Paula Bosco Damon is a national award-winning columnist. Her writing has won first-place in competitions of the National Federation of Press Women, South Dakota Press Women and Iowa Press Women. In the 2009, 2010 and 2011 South Dakota Press Women Communications Contests, her columns have earned eight first-place awards. To contact Paula, email boscodamon.paula@gmail, follow her blog at firstname.lastname@example.org and find her on FaceBook.