The scale of connect

Bill Paxton died today.  I’ll tell you, it really made me sad.  There are a few people in the “acting and music world” who I completely like.  And he was one of them.  The thing of it is, I didn’t even know the guy.  Just what I saw of him on stage and screen.

My first notice of Bill Paxton was probably 30+ years ago.  He was in a little movie called “Weird Science” —   He played Chet Donnely, the  mean older brother, who extorts money from his younger brother Wyatt.  Even at that early start in his career, he made it easy to despise Chet.

Since that time, I have enjoyed his performances in a myriad of different films. Terminator, Aliens, Apollo 13, Twister, U-571.  I loved him in the HBO Series Big Love.   I just really liked him, and I’m very saddened that we won’t be seeing him any more.

Only a few other actors or musicians passings have affected me this way.

We are people living in a world of people.  Others affect our lives.   Some more than others.  There is a lot to this, really.

Those nearest to us, hopefully mean the most, and they have the biggest impact on us.  But I think people have different levels of awareness of others.  And even this falls to different scales.

For instance, the compassion level. There is a big spectrum from…. let’s say…  0 to 100.  At the zero end of compassionate awareness would be someone like a serial killer, or Hitler.  At the other end would be Mother Theresa, or Jesus.  And in between are the rest of us.  Like… Donald Trump at 13…. and Captain Kangaroo figuring in at 88.

There are other levels of affectedness.  The kind where we care about what others think of us.  Same deal with the scales.  Zero… someone doesn’t give a rat’s rear what other people think.  One hundred… someone worries day and night about others’ opinions.   Again, Donald Trump would possibly be a 6.  Me?  I’m in the low 90s.  This is not necessarily a good thing. At all.

None the less.  The bottom line is this.  We share the planet with other people, and everything we do, and they do, are intertwined.  The “reaches” of our actions are a lot bigger than we might think.

No matter what it is.  Really.  People are affected by what we do…  if they just see or hear about our actions.  From the very little to the very big.

Take something inconsequential.  Like Buddy, in the orange pickup truck, who pulled right out in front of you on Main Street, and proceeded to drive about 10 m.p.h.   Then, at the traffic light, he goes through on the yellow… and you get stopped by the red.  BLUTO.   Something that small might really upend us, cause us stress, and possibly have an impact on how we behave toward others.

Or perhaps it is something large.  We make an anonymous donation at church to help a family in need.  Their lives get a little more manageable.  They can breathe a little easier.   The ripples go out, and out, from there.

In all that we do… we serve as an example to others.   Sometimes…. this example is one that influences the behavior of others.  They may not be aware of the effect that our actions have had on them. Conversely… we may not be aware that what we did, impacted anyone else.

But as it goes… we are all connected.. … .and one action dominoes into the next.  It is just some Weird Science, it is.

You know.

Bill Paxton died today.  I’m gonna’ miss that guy.



“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.”
― Herman Melville


“It is an absolute human certainty that no one can know his own beauty or perceive a sense of his own worth until it has been reflected back to him in the mirror of another loving, caring human being.”
― John Joseph Powell


“We are like islands in the sea, separate on the surface but connected in the deep.”
― William James