Case Study #2733: The Comment Section Butterfly Effect


A completely true and factual account of events, sort of, maybe a little bit.

A Wichita Falls, Texas-based rock band is performing a soundcheck at the Ogden Theatre in Denver, Colorado.

They are scheduled to start their performance at exactly 7:00 PM.

The band’s manager is informed that due to a production delay, the scheduled re-supply shipment of band T-shirts will not arrive in time for the show. There are are only about a half-dozen left from last night’s gig. As the demand will far exceed the supply, he elects to store them away for the next night’s concert in Albuquerque.

But at the last minute, he changes his mind. The paucity of available shirts will indeed go on sale.

A man is sitting at home, having a rare moment of nothing to do. He hasn’t been happy with the pressures of his high-stress career, and has taken a personal day off to contemplate his future.

He knows that he should be working on a solution. So he boots up his laptop and gets ready to work on yet another iteration of his resume.

But at the last minute, he changes his mind.

He instead goes into the kitchen to get something to eat. His refrigerator is bare.

Except for some leftover Italian Wedding Soup.

While waiting for the microwave to finish up, he turns on the radio.

An afternoon drive-time DJ is giving away two tickets to a concert, to the seventh caller who can answer a trivia question.

On an impulse, the man calls in to the station, and happens to be lucky caller number seven. He responds correctly, and scores the tickets. He excitedly calls his girlfriend, and says, “Hey, great news: We’re going to a show tonight.”

However, she can’t make it; she has to work. He decides to just stay home.

But at the last minute, he changes his mind.

He calls a Buddy. He tells his friend to drop what he’s doing, and meet him at The Ogden Theater.

The Buddy says, “Hey, I appreciate the thought, but you know how it is… I’m really slammed with my new thing right now. I’m still trying to find an angle.”

The man says, “I know you are. But you’re working much too hard. We both are. We need to get out. It will be fun. And, it’s my treat.”

“Well… I guess, says the Buddy. But on one condition: I’m buying you a T-shirt.”

Fifteen years, 6 months, and 15 days later: author Pauly Steyreen finds himself in a rare moment of having nothing to do.

He decides to just chill. With remote in hand, he begins to watch cable television. He lands upon a classic sports re-run channel. The program features an old video of the opening ceremonies of the 1992 Olympic Games.

A marathon runner named Hari Rokaya from a town called Lalitpur is being interviewed. Recognizing the name of the village, Pauly begins reminiscing about the years when he lived in Nepal. He decides to write about these experiences.

During the writing process, Pauly debates on whether or not to include anecdotes about the country’s cuisine. He decides against doing so.

But at the last minute, he changes his mind.

The articles, replete with enticing food references, are generously offered for publication at a fledgling website,

Two months and 17 days later: author Chuck Small finds himself in a rare moment of having nothing to do.

He decides to just chill. He logs in to to browse the latest comments. He lands upon the final chapter in the series of articles about Nepal, written by Pauly. He comes upon a particular passage that talks about a list of possibilities for breakfast and lunch.

Until reading the paragraph, Chuck had not been particularly hungry. But now, he could really go for a bite to eat. It’s too late to jump in the car and drive downtown, so he abandons the idea.

But at the last minute, he changes his mind.

He reaches for his phone and taps on the DoorDash app. He notices that a local restaurant is still open, and tonight’s special is Italian Wedding Soup.

Chuck orders the Italian Wedding Soup.

44 minutes later, the doorbell rings. Chuck hands a delivery driver a generous tip, and notices that he is wearing a vintage rock T-shirt.

“Nice vintage rock T-shirt,” says Chuck. “Must have a great story with that one.”

“It goes back a while,” says the delivery driver. “It’s a gift from an old Buddy. I treated him to a concert years ago when I lived in Colorado. As a ‘thank you,’ he bought it for me. I almost didn’t get it; this was the last one that they had before they sold out.”

“It’s kind of an odd superstition, but I break it out and wear it once a year, on the anniversary of the show. My old pal and me, we sort of lost touch, but it’s a nice reminder of good times.”

“Anyway, here’s your soup.”

Seven minutes later: A soup-infused Chuck is sleepy, and is about to hit the hay.

But at the last minute, he changes his mind.

Instead of going to sleep, he begins to write an article.

Chuck emails the final draft of the completed article to curator mt58 (who, because he is not the brightest bulb in the chandelier, somehow manages to embed the text inside a tepid Weekend Files side-bit: one that riffs on:
“… and, hey, isn’t it just crazy that precisely one sock goes missing, every single time you do the laundry? Am I right ?”

Confusion, not hilarity, ensued.

Fortunately, both beloved office assistant Goodboy and beleaguered IT associate Gary notice the gaping error. They manage to sort out the clerical mess.

The “sock” bit is deleted.

mt58 remembers to set his daily alarm, and Chuck’s restored article is published.

8 hours and 52 minutes later, Commenter (and potential Future Contributing Author) Dance Fever finds himself in a very rare moment of having nothing to do. He logs in to to peruse the week’s comments and articles, and happens upon Chuck’s latest article.

He loves the article, but declines to make a comment.

But at the last minute, he changes his mind.

48 hours and 17 minutes into the future, Commenter (and potential Future Contributing Author) Dance Fever is cheering on his phenomenally (and hereditarily) talented granddaughter, Little Dance.

In her very first effort on the parqued alleyway, she shatters the alley record for her age group.

The place goes crazy. The affable owner of the bowling alley sees how excited everyone is about the youngster’s success, and laughs as the patrons remind him of his establishment’s policy about record-breaking:

It’s free food and drinks for everyone on Little Dance’s team.

He heads over to the snack bar and starts to tell the servers to cook up some pizzas.

But at the last minute, he changes his mind.

The team is instead treated to Italian Wedding Soup…

And his traditional complimentary T-shirts...

No doubt: he’s worked hard since he first got an idea to create a fun, family-friendly business.

And at Buddy’s:

that’s how they roll.



Your grateful host. Good on you all.

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Famed Member
Online Now
September 23, 2022 5:52 pm

I was going to write a comment, but at the last minute, I changed my mind.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Famed Member
September 23, 2022 6:01 pm

mt58, this is a spot-on encapsulation of how my mind works.

Pauly Steyreen
Famed Member
September 23, 2022 7:29 pm

I feel like the world just opened up like a flower, filling me with wonder, awe, and smooth digestion. Another gift unto us.

Famed Member
September 23, 2022 9:06 pm

Reading this fairly late on Friday evening. And the weekend is now off to a great start.

Phylum of Alexandria
Famed Member
September 23, 2022 11:05 pm

The ads I’m seeing on the page are giving me “Japanese honeymoon” vibes to compliment the Italian wedding motif of the story. Great post, broth-er!

JJ Live At Leeds
Famed Member
September 24, 2022 3:59 am

September 24th, 2022: 8:59 AM
JJ reads the latest missive from all round good guy and tnocs CEO mt and marvels at the ingenuity. He also wonders what the heck is Italian Wedding Soup? Is it an actual thing or some sort of in joke like the time an episode of How I Met Your Mother made a thing of British Morning Socks that left him wondering what strange foibles you think we have.

One quick Google and all is explained. Well, maybe not all but enough. Never come across this in any Italian restaurant here.

JJ decides nevermind about the soup he’ll have muesli for breakfast instead and marvels that tnocs isn’t just here for entertainment, its a window into learning about American culture.

Famed Member
Online Now
September 24, 2022 8:32 am

And sometimes British.

Phylum of Alexandria
Famed Member
September 24, 2022 2:53 pm

Just did my own internet sleuthing, and am actually surprised to learn that Italian wedding soup actually has origins in Italy.

I figured it would be something like “Irish” potato candy, which is actually just a Philly thing. Look with wonder and terror:

JJ Live At Leeds
Famed Member
September 25, 2022 9:35 am

Is it wrong that I would like to try them? I have a sweet tooth ok. I was anticipating there being actual potatoes involved so the reality isn’t anywhere near as bad.

Phylum of Alexandria
Famed Member
September 25, 2022 10:56 am

Not wrong at all! They’re a Philly favorite, though they are very rich, and so they’re not for everyone.

They are quite easy to make (as long as you have access to cream cheese), so maybe you can make a batch and see what you think!

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x