Friday, September 14, 2007

Six Degrees of Separation

I intended to post this when it first occurred, but was really busy at the time and forgot, but I still think it’s interesting.

I’m sure most of you have heard of the Six Degrees of Separation theory which refers to the idea that, if a person is one "step" away from each person he or she knows and two "steps" away from each person who is known by one of the people he or she knows, then everyone is no more than six "steps" away from each person on Earth. Several studies, such as Milgram's small world experiment, have been conducted to empirically measure this connectedness. While the exact number of links between people differs depending on the population measured, it is generally found to be relatively small. Hence, six degrees of separation is somewhat synonymous with the idea of the "small world" phenomenon.

Well, it turns out I had less than six degrees of separation from the late Tammy Faye Bakker-Messner. No joke (though I’m sure there are more exciting people to have this kind of connection with, but oh well). Here is how I’m connected:

- Tammy Faye’s second husband was Roe Messner.
- Roe has an aunt named Julia.
- Julia is 1) a family friend that I attended church with as a child, 2) the great-aunt of a good friend/ex-boyfriend, and 3) the sister-in-law of my 3rd cousin.

Of course, I was not aware of this connection till after she died. The friend/ex-boyfriend’s grandmother made him aware of this connection. He had to call me right away to find out if I knew that we were inadvertently related to Tammy Faye (I did have to point out that it was less of a stretch to prove he was related to her than it was for me). I can’t believe she didn’t leave me anything in her will!!! :o)


Anonymous said...

so did you break up with the friend/exboyfriend because you were related?

Stacey said...

We're not related. It just happens that we are related to some of the same people, just different sides of the family...but it was confusing for some people at first and I was forever having to pull out the family tree. I wondered if someone would confused by that.