Say what you like about the delights of sex, drugs, rocks and roll, or the 1953 Standard motor car – or about family and friendship and little bluebirds chirping – there is nothing quite as good as being needed.
It quiets the mental worm that gnaws at us; why are we here? Even if for only a short period of time we are here to help.
And it doesn’t really matter if we succeed. The thing is, we were called on. Even if we make a sad hash of whatever we do and make matters infinitely worse, the need was there and it was us that was needed.
This was the basic drive that made Boy Scouts stand at street corners and eye off old ladies. We were priming ourselves to swoop and help them across the road. As we got older and progressed from Boy Scouts to scouting for girls we used this early training on the street corners. We were extremely vigilant for a chance to help younger women into bars and into our cars. There were no merit badges on offer but we occasionally had things pinned on us.