Vol. 1, Issue 14, August 19, 2003
Think Difference (Engine).
Perplexing Times

Time To Do My Bit, With Six Degrees

Ezekiel F. Watley, Esq.

Now, I'm a Patriotic gentleman, and as any of my Peers might tell you I am always looking for a way to Further the Causes of our great Nation in my own small Corner of the world. A small Flag here, a well-chosen Salute there - I am every bit the Citizen our Founding Fathers envisioned, I do believe. I even partake of the occasional American whisky in place of my preferred Scotch (so as not to let our Homeland Distilleries suffer); one must, after all, make Sacrifices for one's Country.

But on a Larger Scale, what can One Man do? But Ho! - I came across an article which Noted that, Astoundingly, but a half-dozen Degrees of Separation distance every One of us on this fair World. And it occurred to me that I might here have a chance to do my Bit for the Nation, and locate one of these Scoundrels that our Nation is searching for, such as the Mesopotamian despot Mr. Hussein. For surely the cold law of Science knows no Boundaries between Class and Culture, and the same Six Degrees should separate Us as any other Human Being. My blood was Charged with the very Thought, and quickly I picked up both my best Hat and a stout Handful of my very best Business Cards. The game's Afoot, Mr. Hussein!

I marched forthwith to my Tobacconist, a man with Contacts Far and Wide. I handed him Six of my Business Cards, upon which I had written a stern Note to the Despot; explaining how he really must Surrender, in a most Rational discourse that no man could Possibly Argue with. Having charged my Tobacconist with the Task of getting this Note five degrees closer to the Man in Question, I retired to the Club for a refreshment.

As the days passed, my Cards came back one at a Time, each bearing silent Testimony to their Journey across the vast Web of Humanity: a Chimneysweep in our Capital; a Swedish sailor; a French Courtesan. At each Step, the person had mailed back one of my diminishing Pile of Cards, noting the Progress of my Stern Note to the evasive mustachioed Leader. With the arrival of each dog-eared Card in the Post, I raised my glass to the Flag, God Bless us All.

But alas! - I failed to consider the Vagaries of Human Unpredictability, and also to read the End of the above Article; which did Note that six degrees is but an Average, and not necessarily an Iron-Clad Principle. My last card was returned by a Vice-President in hiding with Hussein; one extra Degree removed. He told me in his Note that my Stern Demand to Surrender was very Convincing, and that if he wasn't worried about being Shot he would have obeyed right away. Sadly, as I had not given my Tobacconist enough Cards, the Vice President had no more to pass on to Mr. Saddam in the next room; and so my Quest met with failure.

I ask no Credit for my failure, but offer this Word of Caution: Do bring extra Business Cards when next you seek to track down a Notorious Criminal. It cannot Hurt to Have them.


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