Saturday, March 24, 2012

Chaos Butterfly Powers

When I was a kid I loved to pretend I had superpowers. I may be an adult now, but my mind still wanders off into extreme fantasy land on occasion. How cool would it be to have the power of invisibility making it possible to sneak into  places without being detected? I could use it for evil purposes to rob banks and spy on people or I could use it for good by assisting the military or police and taking down the bad guys.

Being able to fly would have all sorts of applications. It would definitely make travel much easier, although without some sort of super strength, I really couldn't take things with me. I would need to invest in a large backpack.

Save the Cheerleader
Save the World

When I was younger and aspiring to be a stuntman I would have been unstoppable if I had the healing powers of Wolverine or the cheerleader Claire Bennet from Heroes. I can only imagine the stunts I could have accomplished had I known that I would live through it. Believe it or not, we did come up with ideas that we backed down from. We may have taken a lot of risks, but we did have our limits.

Telekinesis would probably be wasted on me since I would use it more for messing with people than ever finding a practical use for it. Plus, I would probably get really out of shape if I never had to get up to do anything. Moving things with my mind would not have a good outcome for anyone.

Despite all my crazy comic book nerd fantasies, I discovered in the last week that I do have a superpower. It is very similar to the Butterfly Effect or the Chaos Theory. The term Butterfly Effect was coined by Edward Lorenz in response to a 1963 paper he wrote demonstrating how the tiniest action can be the catalyst for a series of events eventually causing a result in another part of the world. For example, a butterfly flapping its wings in Brazil could cause a tornado to be set off in Texas.

The butterfly did not create the event by itself. It simply started an event that had a consequence, which led to another event, which led to another, and so on, until the accumulation of events created the conditions necessary to create a tornado.

Due to recent events, I now know that I have this ability. Due to my delayed response to a question, I caused an event to occur 8,927 miles away. 


Many of you have been following the interaction between Red of Doesn't Speak Klingon and myself. Here's a brief explanation for those of you that aren't up to speed. Of all the people that are watching this saga unfold since my proposal to Red last Valentine's Day, no one is a bigger fan than Bozo of A Bozo's Abbozzo. Please note that Bozo is in India.

Bozo has scoured each of our comment sections to pick up on any communication that may be happening between Red and myself. She sends each of us encouraging comments and gets tickled every time she learns new information. She is thrilled that Red and I are now emailing back and forth, but that also means that our conversations are not in the public eye as they were before.

After learning a new piece of information that Red shared in one of her recent posts, Bozo asked me a question in the comment section of her own blog (compatibility check, sheer curiosity, who knows). Since I wasn't at my computer, I didn't answer right away. Waiting for my response caused her to burn the milk she was boiling. She writes about it here (Of Burnt Milk & Brett Minor).

My actions in Illinois ruined food on the other side of the world. My destruction has a worldwide range.

To demonstrate to you, my readers, that I do not only use my powers for evil, I have an example of how I have used these powers for good. However, while evil comes easy, doing good takes some extra effort.

Red had a very bad day last week and I wanted to do something nice for her. I decided to send her some flowers, but I don't know what town she lives in. I wanted it to be a surprise, so I couldn't just ask her. So, being the computer geek that I am, I put my skills to work to implement my plan.

I felt like I was
doing something dirty.
I know the industry she works in and the state she lives in. Using that information coupled with her real name (yes, I know her real name, are you jealous?) I conducted a directed search and found what I was looking for within a few minutes: the name, address and phone number where she worked.

Before I went any further, it occurred to me that this might be outdated information. I didn't want to send flowers to a place that she left 3 years ago. I needed to confirm that she was actually still employed there. I called the number and it was disconnected.

A Google search for the company name gave me a new number. As I began to dial the number, I stopped and rethought this entire adventure. How will this be perceived? Will she be impressed or feel like she is being stalked?

After thinking it over for a few minutes and praying that my intentions would be understood, I decided to proceed. I called the number and asked for her. The receptionist asked "And who should I say is calling?"

I hadn't thought of that. What do I say? I didn't want to give my real name, because I wanted the flowers to be a surprise. I blurted out the first name that came to mind, "Steve Powers."

I don't know where that name came from, but was glad I didn't say Austin Powers. That might have been hard to accept.

Then, she answered. "Can I help you?"

After weeks of blogging comments and hundreds of emails, I actually have her on the phone. I am hearing her voice for the first time, but since she doesn't know it is me, I have to play my part to get the information that I need. I wanted to confirm that the address I had was correct for getting to her and not just some receiving area in the company. I did my best to answer her questions despite knowing very little about the subject matter and got the information that I needed.

I hung up the phone and felt the guilt wash over me. I felt like such a bad person, but there was no turning back now.

I contacted a flower shop in her area and placed a delivery order. I then tried to busy myself and hoped for the best. Today, could mark the end of this internet courtship.

Two hours later, I receive an email from Red indicating that the flowers had achieved the result I had been hoping for. Of course, her first question was, "How do you know where I work?"

I quickly called back as Steve Powers again so I could tell her that she had given me what I needed to know. I identified myself very early this time.

My mood was entirely different after hanging up this time. The sky was brighter, food tasted better and my daughter told me to stop smiling like an idiot.

My plan worked.



Back to my Chaos Butterfly superpower: I used my power for both evil and good within 24 hours of each other. My evil powers have at least a 9000 mile range, my good powers have only been tested up to 900 miles. I am going to have to develop the good side much further to maintain a balance in the Force.

Note the butterfly.
Coincidence?
I think not.

44 comments:

  1. I know nothing about any of this, since I haven't been reading your blog for very long. But I'm glad that Red was pleased instead of creeped out. Ha!

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    1. Thank you. I was too. It was a real concern, but I like to throw caution to the wind and just plow forward.

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  2. hahahaha It's nice that this had a good ending, instead of her thinking you were a stalker or something. Make sure you use your powers for good instead of evil! =)

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    1. Yes. It worked out with a happy ending.

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  3. That's very sweet. And you're sneaky. And poor Bozo. I love Bozo.

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    1. I do too. Hopefully she didn't lose too much.

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  4. "My destruction has a worldwide range" - HOWLING with laughter. As a former amateur stuntman, this should be no surprise to anyone.

    For my part in this, not only was I at work when you called with the big reveal, but there were 3 other people in my office, so I had to be sort of normal. All I could say was that they were from "someone who knew I was having a rough time and wanted to cheer me up."

    Sorry if you had a 2-hour delay. About an hour of that was me trying to formulate a response. What's the typing equivalent of "gob-smacked"? Eventually I decided you needed to know my response, so I just clicked send. Unfortunately, since you didn't reply by email, I have no FREAKIN' CLUE what I said. I imagine it was something brilliant like "what?...how did... huh?...I don't... WOW!" Clearly I made at least one coherent sentence if I asked how you found my office.

    FYI, if you recognize there could be a negative reaction, you're probably safe. In my experience of stalkers/creepers, none of them ever considered they might be crossing a line.

    And finally, since the flowers arrived - and not all ny coworkers saw them - I've been asked several times "why are you so happy now that you're leaving us?" I gave notice some 3 weeks ago. That's not the cause of my smile, guys!

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    1. Part of the delay was the amount of time it took for them to deliver. They did tell me it would be a few hours.

      They asked me for directions.

      I don't know.

      They asked when you got off work.

      I don't know

      They asked if they could take them straight to you or would they have to leave them with someone at the front.

      I don't know

      They asked where you lived so they could deliver them to your home if they missed you.

      I don't know

      I wasn't much help to them, but they ended up doing a great job. Since you were happy in the end, I considered it successful.

      I still have your email if you want to see it.

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    2. I guess I don't even have to say how much I love this exchange.

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    3. It suddenly occurs to me that you just explained the bemused smile on the delivery guys face when I came out front. (My office is near the reception desk, so I heard my name and came right out.)

      He looked pleased to be in on a secret.

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  5. That is so beautiful, if not a little bit stalkerish but beautiful all the same.

    It just goes to show the depth of a man, who would go through all that trouble just to make someone's day a little bit brighter.

    Red is a very lucky woman and You, are a true gent!

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    1. Thank you. I get an idea in my head and I just have to follow through.

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    2. @Lily: Yes, yes I am. I don't know how I got to be the lucky one.

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  6. Bliss!!! I'm in Bliss!!! I don't even know what to say lol. This made a tear trickle down my cheek and my nose is running lol... I can't stop smiling.

    When Red first posted about being sad because someone had hurt her - I was scared to death that something had gone wrong with my favourite romance. I didn't want to pry into things but I was so worried!

    Luckily, another reader asked for more information, and Red then disclosed that the person who had upset her was a guy she worked with. What a relief it wasn't you!

    This is a perfect example of "sweet are the uses of adversity"... So thoughtful of you to send her flowers - and in such a thrilling way. I loved that moment when you talked to her for the first time as Steve Powers... this is just too good! I'm so excited! Ohhh... the romance of it...

    Without any exaggeration, you are the kindest guy ever (must be part of your superpower thing)which means; you're a perfect match for Red because she's the sweetest lady ever. In fact, you're both such good movie making material lol...

    Oh, and by the way, yes, I was asking about your height for compatibility lol... If you had been shorter than Red my American side wouldn't have minded - but I was thrilled to find that you're taller so that both the Indian and American in me were satisfied ;)

    Thanks for this post! It's heart warming.

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    1. I had you in mind (and Red, of course) in mind as I wrote this. Not only because you were part of the story, but I wanted you to be happy with it.

      Thank you for your exchanges with both of us.

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  7. I sort of lost track of the fact that this post started with my burnt milk - you distracted me with the flower story ;)

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    1. I actually wasn't going to write about the flowers until the milk story, then I suddenly saw a correlation that I thought might make a good post.

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  8. Replies
    1. Thank you, but when I have control of the story, I usually come out pretty good.

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    2. Haha, I think this is true for all of us!

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  9. A few years ago, a boy that I had an internet crush on did something similar for me. My reaction was very different. He may still be in therapy after the vicious things I said to him.

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    1. I knew I was taking a chance. Luckily, it worked in my favor.

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  10. Wow that is all very complicated.. But impressive none the less. Good luck with those long range super powers. Now if I could just acquire one that would do the dishes by osmosis I'd be good!

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    1. That would be an incredible power. I would pay to have that one.

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  11. I love finding something truly out of the ordinary...and, brother, did this ever fit the bill! :D

    Brett, your post was interesting and curious and a truly fun read.

    And I'm not saying that just because I have super powers (only used for good, of course). ;-)

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    1. Thank you.

      I'm glad you understand. Us super people have to stick together.

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  12. Smooth :D

    Chaos theory, or using the powers of the Internet for good?

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    1. I like the super power theory. The internet was just a tool.

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  13. Wow, you have a super power AND it's beneficial. My super power is that I can drink a ridiculous amount of alcohol and not get drunk. I've never been drunk in my life, if you can believe it, which is not for lack of trying.

    ...Which is a cool bar trick, but really sucks if you want to get a nice buzz. Hint: a mild buzz takes about a 6 pack of beers.

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    1. I have met a few people like that. It has something to do with how your body assimilates alcohol (or doesn't).

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  14. Well, I guess I'll be the one to say it:

    Awwwwwww.

    No, really that is super sweet. While taking a chance, you must have known that the odds were in your favor (I assume you called upon your mind reading abilities for that one) that she would be pleased. But what a lot of work you went to to make sure you got them to her and that it was a surprise. Anyone could have just been like "so, where do you work?" or "I want to do something nice, give me your address." But you were all super sleuth about it. Nice.

    Oh and Red? I've been with the hubs for over 15 years, and I speak from experience when I say . . . Brett is a KEEPER. Anyone who not only cares enough to do something nice for someone who is having a bad day and is sensitive enough to recognize when you really need something like that, plus will go to all the trouble of making it a special surprise even with the chance of it not going as planned? Totally a keeper!

    Super sweet.

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    1. You are right. While there was some element of risk, I was fairly confident that this was a safe bet. plus, this was a lot more fun.

      KEEPER (all caps)

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    2. LoL. Thanks Misty - got it! (You have no idea.) I'll do my best, but how can I match these superpowers? All I can hope is that there's not some better, cleverer redhead with real game lurking in his neighborhood!

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    3. I wouldn't worry about it. Most redheads are crazy.

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    4. I don't know if that's saying I'm crazy, or the redhead lurking in your neighborhood is crazy, or if you're just saying that you like crazy.

      I'll just take the first part, and not worry about it.

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  15. Dude, you are the man.

    And like you, I like to think that my superpower is making someone do something in some far off land. Except the only thing I want to do is make them laugh... even if it is a chuckle.

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    1. Yes. Laughter is empowering. It is like spinach to Popeye.

      If I ever come upon someone trapped under a car, I will tell them jokes until they can lift it off.

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  16. Oh my gosh! How did I miss this post?!?

    I have been wondering about the two of you, but didn't want to be nosy. So let me get this out of my system -AWWWWWWW! So Sweet!

    I'm thrilled to hear you use your powers for good.

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    1. Thank you. I'm glad you caught it. That's easier than trying to play catch up later.

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  17. I'm a little late to the Brett and Red party but I'm slowly catching up. My story with my wife is similar to yours. We met via multi-media and she moved 600 miles to be with me (long story short)

    I remember the first time I talked to her (my wife, not Red) on the phone. Even though she didn't know who you were the first time, you'll always remember that first conversation and hearing her voice.

    Good luck to both of you.

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    1. That's awesome. Thank you.

      She is moving 900 miles closer. Not to be with me, she was moving anyway, but it will make it much easier to see each other.

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    2. That's what I get for being late. I knew she was moving in with her parents, I just assumed you were in the area and that's why she was moving.

      I went back and read the post you linked above about you not being an axe murderer. Great post, very funny.

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    3. Thank you. The response to that post was overwhelming. I had to pay a lot of special people visits after the help they gave me.

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