Damian Bathersby, Sunshine Coast Daily Journalist. Photo Patrick Woods / Sunshine Coast Daily
Damian Bathersby, Sunshine Coast Daily Journalist. Photo Patrick Woods / Sunshine Coast Daily Patrick Woods

COLUMN: Who wouldn't want to be six degrees from me?

SIX degrees of separation is an intriguing concept, isn't it?

You know what I mean.  

The theory is that anyone on the planet can be connected to any other person through a chain of acquaintances with no more than five links.

For example, it would be fairly easy to link myself and the Queen.

Think I'm full of it? 

Try this on for size.

My stepdaughter lives in England (one degree) and a lady she works with (two degrees), used to share a flat with a girl (three degrees) whose brother (four degrees) looked after the Queen's horses (five degrees).


How about me and Barack Obama?

Our friend Nick (one degree) is a US soldier who served in Iraq with a bloke (two degrees) whose best mate (three degrees) was part of the Secret Service detail that protected the President (four degrees).

The Queen and the US President!

 I'm better connected than you thought, hey?

Try it for yourself. It can be exciting.

It can also be a little spooky.

For example, I think I've told you my son married a lovely Brazilian girl, so we last year travelled to Brazil for their wedding.

During a stopover in Rio de Janeiro we went on a food tour where we met a young couple from London who were on their honeymoon.

My wife, of course, told them her daughter also lived in London. They lived on opposite sides of the city, so there was no reason to think their paths would ever cross.

But then my wife mentioned that her daughter's in-laws lived in The Cotswolds.

 Blow me down, the bride's parents also lived in that area.

My wife mentioned how much her daughter and partner enjoyed taking Harry, their Golden Retriever, for walks on the local common.

Wouldn't you know it? The bride's parents had a black Labrador named Chester, which they took for walks on the exact same common.

Back home, my wife rang her daughter to tell her of this amazing coincidence and to keep an eye out for the bride's parents and Chester.

I laughed at their foolishness. I was scolded appropriately.

Nothing happened for a few months until just the other day when my wife got an excited phone call from her daughter, to say they'd met the bride's parents while they were out walking Harry.

She'd introduced herself and explained the story, only to have the couple say their daughter had told them about meeting us and they were thrilled to complete the circle.

Amazing, right?

At this point, I'd like to say they all lived happily ever after and are meeting for regular walks, catching up for coffee and planning to meet the bride and groom next time they visit.

I'd like to say that one day my wife and I, the bride and groom, the bride's parents, my stepdaughter and her partner will all be united in a big, happy gathering where we'll laugh about the coincidence that brought us all together.

Sadly, no.

It seems Harry and Chester hated each other on sight and spent the few minutes my stepdaughter chatted with the bride's parents trying to tear each other's throats out.

The snarling and snapping was so vicious that the human getting-to-know each other was cut short.

I understand they all still take walks on the same common but Harry and Chester have to be kept on opposite sides of the field.

It's not our fault. We did our bit for international relations.

Maybe man's best friends don't know about six degrees of separation ... or simply don't care.  

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