The "Kilroy Syndrome" Yes, "Kilroy" is still here

The primary thesis of this paper is to address the growing phenomenon of, what we call the "Kilroy Syndrome" In a previous paper we addressed school shootings as a direct result of  abandonment by parents of their traditional caretaker roles for their children. From "Kilroy is here" to the Jonesboro Incident: A logical Progression?

   To explain this behavior we must again draw a developmental line from the popular "graffiti" of the 40's "Kilroy was here", to today's citizens to address another form of social behavior that is sweeping the nation. The "Kilroy Syndrome" can be best described as: "Committing of an act by a person for the purpose of recognition because of their feeling of invisibility and insignificance, identity seeking and to justify their own existence." Today more and more people are seeking attention in what can be described as an unorthodox behavior.

   Graffiti has been around for many years; early man's graffiti was scrawled on the walls of caves, as long as, 40,000 years ago. The oldest and perhaps best known is the El Castillo cave in Cantabria, Spain. The inhabitants of the era drew pictures depicting their everyday lives and accomplishments on the walls of the caves they inhabited. Thanks to the drawings, not unlike "Kilroy was here" the people of that era immortalized themselves with their art, even though it was not their intent.

   Today we have several phenomenons that are prevalent in the US including loud stereos, loud tailpipes on vehicles, walkers and joggers. There are several reasons that teenagers and adults alike participate in this behavior, but our main focus will be the "Kilroy Syndrome." The Kilroy Syndrome has two likely causes, a development disorder and an emotional abandonment issue. The first, a developmental disorder, has been linked to the use of drugs, mild autism and the lack of parental control. The second, emotional abandonment is a direct result of parental neglect by either withholding nurturing and/or discipline. This is not to say that anyone that has loud stereo or loud pipes on a motor vehicle, or participates in jogging has a mental or developmental issue; walking and jogging both have a positive health benefit and can be fun. We are discussing the people that do it for the attention and it is our contention these people that do it for the attention are afflicted by the "Kilroy Syndrome." In an interview with a motorist that had loud pipes on his vehicle, the response when asked why was; "When you have loud pipes, people know you are there."

    The true origins of Kilroy graffiti are not known, some speculate that it was a military person whereas others speculate that it was a dock worker in Boston Harbor. The story goes like this: Mr. Kilroy, frustrated because his supervisor failed to give him enough appreciation for his work, began to write "Kilroy was here" on boxes of cargo that were shipped around the globe. The name Kilroy became famous. Today it is no longer acceptable to silently scribble graffiti on a wall and go away in silence, now it must be yelled out, "See me, I exist, I am  still here, Notice me."

Different reasons exist for a person to have loud tail pipes on their vehicle. One reason could be from a concept called "penis envy," by Otto Fenichel, (1897 – 1946), in an article "Trophy and Triumph." Fenichel pointed out the definition of the term was, anxiety and inhibition created by one having a penis of inadequate size, and relieving this anxiety by the winning of trophies. Therefore, when one suffers from "penis envy" one feels the need to have something bigger, better, run faster, walk further and be louder than the competition to relieve anxiety. "Egoism" can also be another reason. A self-serving phenomenon in which the person does things to promote his own self-worth and to feel gratification from his own deeds, positive or negative, with no consideration and total disregard for others' privacy, discomfort or peace of mind.

   In a television interview, a teacher at an elementary school was describing her various duties, one was to teach the children to sing and she said; "I teach them to sing and be loud." One is left wondering why she felt the need to teach someone to be "loud." We think that, perhaps, she is feeling ignored by the rest of the staff and projecting her feeling of being invisible on to the students. Although subtle, this type of perspective promotes the "see me" generation.

   When one sees a jogger or walker on a busy thoroughfare during rush hour traffic, or jogging or walking in a thunderstorm and putting their life at risk, one must ask the question; Why?

   Some cities have passed noise ordinances because, of loud stereos in cars and homes. In September, 2012 a woman in Epping, New Hampshire was arrested four times in 26 hours for playing loud music in her home. The judge suggested to her that a pair of ear phones may be in order. In Rogers, Arkansas, if an officer can hear one's stereo in their car at a distance of 30 feet, the violator can receive a ticket. These incidents show the trend of attention getting has surpassed the occasional happening and has become prevalent enough to prompt the need for intervention.

   The news broadcasts today are full of people biting people, people shooting indiscriminately into crowds, people claiming to be Vampires or Zombies, or doing drive by assaults with firearms, paint ball guns and blow guns.

   The need for recognition is very much alive and demonstrated in America and the world today. This should be a red flag to educators and society in general that a very hard look and future research should be given to the Kilroy Syndrome in order to resolve this growing trend.

1 comment:

  1. No longer any doubt about Kilroy's origin. Kilroy was real. His name was James. I have been documenting his story for many years. Go to and see for yourself. I have many legends (Volume 1) but there is one for sure. Go to the Legends and Sightings which continue today in the Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan. Scroll further down for Kilroy produced videos including an interview with James Kilroy's family. You will find all the answers to your questions about Kilroy. He is definitely still with us. We have sightings from the Gulf War, Afghanistan and Iraq.


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