Monday, June 17, 2013


Just recently I wrote an entry on the passing of Jean Stapleton. I told the story (publicly for the first time) about the coincidences that have happened that pretty much make me feel some kind of connection with my mom. It has been about 35 years since she died. There have been a lot of those connecting coincidences over all those years, but I was just sharing a few. My father died a few years after my mother did. Having parents that both died when I was at such a relatively young age affected my life a lot. But the question you may ask and I have often asked myself is why I felt it important to discuss my mother's influence on my life and have excluded my father.

I think it started because my father and I were often at odds and I clung to my mother as a reason, and later, as she sickened, although my function had changed, she was still my reason of being. I have grown enough now to know that the flaws of my parents exist among the flaws of the pretty much everyone I have ever known in the world, especially myself (who I have quite a lot of experience with.) Some people see this transition from the idolization of their parents to a realization of their flawed humanity over a longer period of time, some do not. While politics was not the only thing my dad and I fought about, as I grew older the political views of my dad, the notorious conservative, actually converged in many ways with my own (now a liberal viewpoint as the party of the conservatives became unrecognizable.)

I was watching a show entitled Touch. It is a show that deals with coincidences in a unique way. Kiefer Sutherland plays the father of an autistic child that is in reality a savant who understands the inner workings of the world through numbers. The idea is that there is a mathematically available pattern behind the entire world and there are those who can see this mathematical pattern. This boy is one...but he has never said a word to his father or anyone. He communicates with his father through numbers to guide him to heal the problem spots in the world, the places where the mathematical sequence is not in accord with the ideal pattern. I have called it a cross between Highway to Heaven and Quantum Leap. It is one of those shows I have held at arm's length because the idea is just so good and the potential so great that I don't want it to fail in front of my eyes. It doesn't.

The episode I watched today on Netflix was called "Zone of Exclusion" and the mathematical theme was one of connecting the points of triangles. The story-line revolves around the connection of two points through a third point. As autistic Jake narrates (narration is the only place the viewer hears his voice or thoughts), the shortest path between two points is a line and life naturally follows this course. But when water encounters an obstruction, it moves around the obstruction and so rivers zigzag in odd paths as the water tries to flow a straight line between the highest point to the lowest. It flows through a third point to connect, over and over again. It is a Taoist philosophy that one's path in life is like water.

As you can see, I really have come to love the show. But the episode I watched today truly touched me in a way that was startling. As Keifer's character explains. There are coincidences and there is truth.

As I recounted in that earlier entry about Jean Stapleton, I have come to connect found pennies with my mother. I am sure there are other movies or television shows that had lucky pennies as linchpins in the plot, but I cannot remember any. I remember having a nice experience watching the movie "Pennies from Heaven,"  which, as you could guess from the title, I would. But the weirdly coincidental thing about this episode of Touch was that I happened to watch it on Father's Day. My father was a taxi driver when I knew him, after his retirement from the Air Force. In this episode the taxi driver is the third point in a triangle, and the dispatcher is the third point in another triangle. There is the lady who must find her lucky penny (that Keifer Sutherland character drops) and so... I was in tears as the episode connected that third point of the triangle of the nuclear family I knew as I grew mother, me, AND my father. Happy Father's Day, Daddy.

"If two points are destined to touch, the universe will always find a way to make a connection. Even when all hope seems lost, certain ties cannot be broken. They define who we are, and who we can become. Across space, across time, along paths we cannot predict, nature always finds a way."

Summary: Touch : S1 E8

* The other coincidence here is the ham radio. My father always talked about that but basically only owned a scanner. This gave him the third point of a triangle when taking instructions from his dispatcher. He could hear the dispatcher and he could talk to the dispatcher but could not hear other drivers as the taxi radios were designed. Hearing the responses and locations of the other drivers was what he wanted to do in secret through his scanner. He explained that he did this to find out if the dispatcher played favorites with the drivers. But I know it was really....surveillance. :)