Seven degrees of separation from busy to lazy

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1_Earth_(blank)Before Walt Disney had the Sherman brothers, Rob and Rick, create the earworm* known as It’s a Small World (After All), the Hungarian writer Frigyes Karinthy wrote about the small world concept in his short story Chain Links. If you take the time to read the four-page story by clicking on the title, you’ll see how Karinthy is able to establish an association between two people unknown to one another with just two acquaintance links between them, and another pair with four acquaintance links between them.

 

Most people today attribute the idea of six degrees of separation to Karinthy. According to the 6° of separation theory, every human being is connected to every other human being by six or fewer links (friends or acquaintances) between them. In its various iterations, the concept now includes Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, a game connecting every Hollywood actor, ham or otherwise, to Kevin Bacon in the required six or fewer links. Go here to test it out.

 

Chain-link-Fence

If the SDS theory is true, we are all just six or fewer acquaintance links from Pope Francis, Macklemore, your crazy neighbor, and every terrorist on the face of the earth. This is good news for the acronym known as NSA (National Snooping Agency / No Secrets Allowed), because the theory can justify snooping on all of us. We are all guilty by association. Of course, the national acronym shows some restraint, restricting its snoops to three degrees of separation for persons of interest. Or so they say.

Someone is watching all your links.

Someone is watching all your links.

What does this have to do with busy and lazy? Back in the old days of crossword puzzle books, I used to play a word game in which you had to start with one word and end up with another by changing one letter of the word in a designated number of steps. I thought of this the other day when I realized how I seem to alternate between busy and lazy. So I started a word list and discovered the two states are separated by seven degrees of separation.

 

I start out BUSY, and all that frantic effort leaves me BUSHed. Tired and frustrated, I begin to BASH my head against the wall and LASH out at some of the people around me. Then I withdraw and build a flimsy retreat of LATHs. Confined by a cage built by my own hands, I postpone what I am supposed to do and find I am LATE for deadlines and for completing my well-laid plans. Once that happens, I lose focus and begin to LAZE around. That hammock-like verb leads to LAZY (hours wasted staring at moving objects on my computer screen).

It looks something like this:

busy

bush

bash

lash

lath

late

laze

lazy

What does this all mean? And why do I keep starting paragraphs with questions? I don’t really know, so I’ll make something up. First, words and how they are spelled can be linked. I like that because I enjoy words and wordplay. Second, ideas can be linked, for example, Frigyes Karinthy’s chain links and Kevin Bacon’s cinema links. Someone clearly needs to discover the links between toilet paper and nuclear fission, as well as vaccines and peanut butter. And I could be that someone if only moving from lazy to busy were as easy as moving from busy to lazy.

 

*Earworm = A song or musical phrase that 
burrows into your head to consume part of yourbrain. The earworm extracts tiny bits of 
sanity, extruding addle, which causes you to
become addle-brained. An ear worm can also 
make bad words come out of your mouth.

 

Photos courtesy of Wikimedia:   Big chain link     Earth

 

14 thoughts on “Seven degrees of separation from busy to lazy

  1. I’m sure you could have taken fewer steps, but that would be much less fun to read! And … hahah, lazier! I think you might be on to something there with vaccines and peanut butter, etc – especially as so many are allergic to peanuts. We make a lot of TP, which goes to waste, waste creates heat on decomposition… and there I’ve lost the thread! :)

  2. I love words and the separation games because I can play around with them and be lazy while appearing busy (at least to myself). Thanks as usual for the chuckle. Happy New Year!

  3. This post was the most challenging of yours I have encountered. I have a feeling I am missing something important. Aside from the obvious question as to why you chose to explore expression in four letter words, I can’t help but wonder what the true significance is between two degrees of separation and six. To me, the very first inkling of separation is like a chasm before me… but pulling myself further, I was reminded of the richter scale for earthquakes.

  4. I think you have very capably illustrated how much fun it is for your readers to start off one place with you, then follow you to another, and yet another. Not many bloggers can do that so well – they usually lose their readers long before they get to the conclusion!

  5. Sorry that, as you already know, *I* don’t have the solution for how to reverse the busy-to-lazy process. But if you want to come over here and recline next to me on the nearest chaise, we could whisper about it between bouts of light snoring!

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