Here’s a little known fact about me: I’m a big believer in chaos theory.

You know how it goes. A butterfly flapping its wings off the coast of Myanmar might set about a chain of events that culminate over time so that they have a direct impact across the world, perhaps as far away as Lewiston, Maine.

It’s hard to fathom, I know. But watch.

That hard pumping butterfly causes a minuscule tweak — I mean just the displacing of a raindrop or two — to the weather pattern over the Indian Ocean.

Those barely discernible changes to the airflow results in a disturbance in the stream passing from the South Atlantic to the North Atlantic.

Those fluctuations mount and multiply. Next thing you know, instead of sun and heat on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2009, there is a light drizzle in Methane, N.C.

Because of that drizzle, a dyslexic baseball fan named Billy Joe Sprocket wears his cap with the bill forward instead of turned back that day. Totally out of character, but what are you gonna do? It’s raining out.

At a truck stop just outside Charlotte, a rig driver pauses in a parking lot just long enough to study the logo on the front of Billy Joe’s baseball cap. Is that the Washington Senators? Or the San Diego Padres? It doesn’t really matter to Frank the truck driver — he’s eschewed baseball since the incident — but he’s just curious enough to pause and look.
Oh, look. It’s the Padres.

Set back in his schedule just four seconds, Frank the truck driver will later plow straight into the middle of an 18-car pileup on the highway. It’s a real bummer because if he had skipped that ball cap scrutiny, he would have breezed right through before metal started mashing on I-285.

The driver is OK (he suffers an embarrassing groin injury that will absolutely ruin his sex life and prohibit him from ever bearing children, which eliminates a kid that would have gone on to invent a radical cure for blindness, also a bummer) but the truck overturned and his entire shipment of live chickens is lost.

This will disrupt activity at farms up the entire East Coast including that at the notorious egg farm formerly known as DeCoster in Turner, Maine.

This unforeseen set of circumstances causes management at the egg farm to give three dozen workers a week off, unpaid. Unfortunate, but what are you gonna do? Times are tough in the agriculture industry.

Six of the laid-off workers will spend their unexpected time off in Lewiston in order to take advantage of all the cheap entertainment here. If you’re an egg farm worker with time on your hands, Lewiston is like Daytona.

That very day, I will go to Kennedy Park to eat my healthy plankton salad only to find that all the benches there are occupied by laid-off egg workers. Disgruntled, I will storm back into the newsroom where an editor will spot me and assign me to cover a story about rumors that Michael Jackson is not dead and that he was, in fact, spotted at Joker’s in the Auburn Mall this very afternoon.

And here, I really need to speed things up for the sake of column space.

Pushed to the breaking point by that dimwit editor, I will finally quit this crummy job and do something meaningful with my life. I will set my sights on a run for the presidency and in 2012, will handily defeat Todd Palin after a campaign run entirely through text messaging.

As my first act as president, I will divert funds from the futile war on drugs and into a space program designed at detecting and eliminating incoming asteroids. And wouldn’t you know it? Just six months later, the newly discovered five-mile-wide asteroid Jon & Kate will make a beeline straight toward Nova Scotia.

Fortunately, the technology I demanded upon reaching the White House works flawlessly and the course of the asteroid is changed after astronauts drop eight tons of Mexican jumping beans onto its surface (seriously, it’s that easy. Pure physics.).
And there you have it, my friends. A butterfly with a little extra attitude over the Indian Ocean just altered the course of events so much that instead of dying hungry in a blackened world, you get to continue your life of gluttony, greed and bad 401(k) investments. All thanks to me and a pretty insect who worked extra hard and then died three minutes later in the snapping bill of an awk.

Assuming an awk has a bill. I really have no idea what kind of animal that is.

The point is, I’ve been thinking about that butterfly a lot lately. Not because I wonder how it’s affected my own life (if that little jackass had gone south instead of north, I might be a rock and roll star with a home on Malibu right now) but because I blame it for the weather that has entirely robbed us of summer this year.

One little butterfly that should have been eaten by a gull in its earliest days must have instead spent its mayfly existence setting about the entire ruination of summer in Maine. I mean, it had to be a butterfly, because who else are you going to blame?
I’ve tried to blame the governor, but he only shows up to frown at overturned cars and downed power lines when we get to flooding. I’ve tried to blame the TV news meteorologists, but they only deliver the news under $900 haircuts. I’ve even tried to blame the sky itself, but every time I scream at it, the cops come and nothing gets accomplished.

At the start of the year, I went out and bought a 2007 Suzuki DR650SE, the finest motorcycle ever made. And almost every day since the snow melted, it’s been raining. Only something as ridiculous and arbitrary as a butterfly could be responsible for that.
This spring and summer, it always seems to be raining and it’s maddening. More maddening still is that there is no one to call out for it. So I say blame butterflies in far flung places. It doesn’t help a lot but it’s something. It’s also something to remind yourself that it could be worse. There could be an asteroid falling on you head and killing you. But it’s not.
You can thank me later, in your own way.


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