I was watching little kids play tag. I noticed that if whoever was ‘it’ was running towards a group of children, the children would scatter, and one extra-slow kid would lag behind. The slow kid was the obvious target for the it kid. This reminded me of a lion chasing zebras, and eating the one that is slowest or injured.
But then I wondered, why don’t all games of tag quickly end up in an absorbing state where the slowest kid is it? Obviously, the game wouldn’t be fun if that was the case. Perhaps kids like to be it sometimes, and let the slow kid catch them.
Does this work as a metaphor? It’s not hard to think of all kinds of examples of people being ‘slower’ than their peers (intelligence, beauty, size, strength, energy, mood). Do we let the slower people tag us? And if so, is it to be nice, or is it because we enjoy the chase?