The Butterfly Effect

In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of a deterministic non-linear system can result in large differences in a later state.

Some of you may recall the first movie in the series of three featuring Amy Smart and Ashton Kutcher with the same title. But for the purposes of this piece I would ask you to disregard the Hollywood movie trilogy.

I remember as a kid hearing about the concept from a teacher at school. I do not remember the exact age but I do know I wasn’t yet a teenager. I think it was either Mrs. Benner or Mrs. Bloodworth who mentioned the concept of a butterfly in Asia flapping its wings and causing a tidal wave in America. As a kid, the notion seemed absurd or downright preposterous. How could something so insignificant have such a devastating effect, not to mention so far away? Come on. Later on, another teacher described it but added the visual of someone standing at the top of a snow covered mountain. The person made a snowball about the size of a golf ball and placed it in the snow and started it rolling down the mountain. The tiny little mass of snow could have more snow stick to it and gather momentum down the mountain. By the time it reached the bottom it could be huge and have such force that it could destroy a house. Same concept, different elements.

Obviously this concept has been theorized about for centuries and the world populous has increased significantly along with industry and technology affecting the planet. So the full effect of the world’s butterflies may have been nullified, keeping them from taking over the planet…for now. But in different ways, the butterfly effect can still be a powerful thing. Let me explain.

Back in school I was never much to look at, even today I still am not. If we met for the first time, chances are ten minutes later you would have forgotten who I was. Some people are physically more attractive and make an instant impression. To my knowledge, no one after meeting me has tried to relay to another person their impression of me by saying: He was kind of like an older version of Zac Efron or kind of like an effeminate version of George Clooney. For the most part I have the sex appeal of Dierberg’shopping cart. Back in school, I was the nice guy that all the girls talked to…about the pretty boy jerk-offs. Imagine all the movie cliques where the pretty girl has the friend-zoned guy that they are constantly complaining to about what jerks their boyfriends are and if only they could find a ‘nice’ guy. Cue the laugh track.

Anyone who has know me for longer than 7 minutes will probably be able to note a quirky conversation we have had or at least be able to think of something out of the ordinary associated with me. I am a cat lady at heart who likes to play softball and is ever so slightly addicted to social media. I am a die-hard fan of the Cleveland Indians who cannot help but play fantasy football every year. I hate the extreme cold and extreme heat. I have never been wealthy but I have played the lotto since I was about 18. I am a realist with an optimistic streak about ten miles wide.

So what does this have to do with the Butterfly Effect? Perfect timing with your question, thank you. The reason I talk to strangers and have so many friends on social media is because you just never know. Just like two soul mates trying to find one another on a planet of 8 zillion people, the more you put yourself out there, the better the odds. But I try to take it one step further.

My personality is often classified as outgoing and flirty. Perhaps this is true but it wasn’t always the case. My girlfriend Kristi and I have had many discussions on the topic of what is flirty and what is more than flirty. There is a difference between flirty…and try to run game. Me talking to a female friend: I will ask about her day, (listen) respond accordingly. If she is having a down day or whatever, I will try to cheer her up by saying something positive; even give a genuine compliment about her smile or her jokes or acknowledge her efforts with her kids or work or whatever. Very benign and platonic and meant to be supportive and uplifting in an effort to flap my ugly butterfly wings and effect some positive change in that person’s day without trying to get into her pants. The difference in this practice and what douchebag guys do is: The doucher initiates a conversation and after some chit chat swings the topic to sex or body parts or hints at sex and body parts. The compliments of body features or calling them sexy or hot start flowing. Once there…he doesn’t leave the topic in hopes of consoling some level of sexual teasing. I recall telling (female) friends that they are beautiful or have pretty features (smile, face, hair, etc) to try to build them up…but not calling them hot or sexy. I am not saying I’m a monk or anything but there is a line between being a ‘guy’ friend who truly is a friend and a ‘guy’ who thinks of women as a collection of body parts. The female form is beautiful to behold but what is more amazing is to have that one special person who may not fit the universal mold of what the perfect woman should look like but for you…she completely does.

Alright back on point. My personal Butterfly Effect is trying to make every relationship I have, guy or gal, something that is positive. So if I am not sleeping with you and I tell you that you are a good person and have a nice smile…it’s the truth and meant to send you some good juju. Granted if I was Justin Timberlake and said you had a nice smile, you probably would be more jazzed about it but I am only working with what my momma gave me. Haters rule the internet and most of the planet so if I can flutter through a few people’s lives in a good way I’m going to try to make that eventual tidal wave of happiness flow over as many as a I can. From the outside, anyone can just say everything is f#cked up and not give a damn but you just never know who you may touch and in turn who may touch you.

Now I DARE you to try to do the same. It’s my way of trying to pay it forward in lieu of curing cancer or building a church of universal softball.

Have a great week. Peace.

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