It’s a small world — ask Kevin Bacon

Two people are sitting in a bar on some other planet when an alien turns to an Earthling and says, “You’re from Earth? Say, do you know Joe Smith?”

Two people are sitting in a bar on some other planet when an alien turns to an Earthling and says, “You’re from Earth? Say, do you know Joe Smith?”

I’ve had that happen to me. Well, obviously I wasn’t in a bar in outer space, I was in bed. OK, this is getting worse by the sentence. Let’s start at the beginning where all beginnings should begin.

I was in bed sleeping in the early hours of New Year’s Eve when the phone rang and an extremely boisterous voice on the other end screamed “Happy New Year mate!” in my ear.

After sharing several incoherent sentences we figured out that not only did the caller have the wrong number, he had the wrong country. He was trying to phone a friend in Australia, but in his cheerful state had accidentally added a few numbers and reached Canada instead.

We marvelled over the fact that it was already next year where he lived, while in Canada it was still last year. We moved on to a discussion of how it had been 30 degrees Celsius that week in both countries, with the slight difference that we were talking plus 30 in Australia and minus 30 in Canada. Then he asked, “Hey, do you know Gord Martin from Toronto?”

I confessed that I did not and explained that Canada was a very large country and Toronto was a good distance from Northern BC.

Several minutes later I hung up and spent the last morning of the year thinking how the poor man from down under was going to wake up a few hours from now feeling like crap and how silly people are to think we might know the same person based on nothing more than the fact we are from the same country.

Of course, when you consider the Six Degrees of separation theory it may not be so silly after all. As you no doubt know, this theory is based on the concept that any one person is connected to any other person through six or fewer relationships, because it really is a small world after all.

This is why whenever we meet a stranger far from home and discover that we both know the same person we always say, “It’s a small world.” We don’t usually add the “after all” unless there are Disney characters involved.

People often choose Kevin Bacon as the Six Degrees icon to prove the theory true. This started during a snow storm when some college students were watching Footloose and one of them commented that Kevin Bacon was probably connsected by six degrees to practically everyone in the entertainment business.

It became a party game to connect any celebrity on earth to Kevin Bacon in as few links as possible. Say if you chose Elvis Presley, for example, you might discover that Elvis was in the movie Change of Habit in 1969 with Ed Asner who in turn had a role in JFK in 1991 with Kevin Bacon. So if Kevin ever sat down on a plane next to Elvis they would both know Ed.

Of course, if Kevin actually sat down on a plane next to Elvis he would probably be asking something besides, “Say, do you know Edward Asner?”

The college students contacted talk show host Jon Stewart telling him that Kevin Bacon was the centre of the entertainment universe and the game went global.

Kevin admits that when he first heard he was being used this way he didn’t like it much.

In fact, he felt he was being ridiculed.

However, instead of going all crazy star diva about it, he chose to turn it into something good.

Kevin launched a website named www.SixDegrees.org which now serves as a one stop charitable donation site. Non-profit groups can register there and anyone wanting to donate money can simply go to the site, type in their favourite charity and bimmity bammity boom, the good deed is safely done.

A handful of sponsors will even match donations made to favourite charities.

Like the song goes, there’s so much that we share that it’s time we’re aware it’s a small world after all.

Shannon McKinnon is a humour columnist from the Peace River country. You can read more of her writing online at www.shannonmckinnon.com

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