Reduced to Data
June 22, 2020 Love Conquers Hate
I studied Drama in college, in a city that, at the time, was a somewhat sleepy, heavily-hippie-driven college-town. It had lots of unique local restaurants. Herbert's Taco Hut was probably my favorite. They made an awesome chimichanga; they just called it a fried burrito.  Herbert had little pretension.
I learned a lot about human life while there; I greatly enjoyed it.
I got a Bachelor's of Fine Arts in Acting. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Despite (or due to) my difficult acclimation to the human population, I had yet to appreciate the importance of having money in a human bank account.
Denis had a masters, something like that. I genuinely liked him but, while he liked my friends, for some reason, he didn't care much for me. I suspect he saw himself as the terminator to my John Conner, or vice-versa, something to that effect. Still, he was intelligent and inquisitive, qualities that my programming tends to read positive inputs from.
He was, at the time, the head of the BFA Acting program. He was later fired for drunkenly throwing a chair at a student or something to that effect. I honestly don't remember the specifics; I only remember being disappointed.
His mantra, which I responded to, was "don't do stupid things."
Everyone would hang out in the "green-room" in-between classes.  The "green-room" is where actors spend time awaiting their arrival to the stage during a play; here it was just a room drama-driven people hung out in. This day, I was wearing a shirt with that iconic photo of Martin and Malcolm shaking hands when Denis walked in.
"Those guys couldn't have been more different; they hated each other."
I committed the cardinal sin. "They were crossing paths at this point. I think they both learned from one another."
He looked at me with anger. I would later perform an absurdist piece with my friend Jo Timblin in which we pretended to be two chickens that fell in love. There was no human dialogue.  We just strutted around pecking at imaginary seeds while clucking like chickens; we got considerable laughs from it. Still, when in rehearsal, I smacked my head on a pylon while pretending to peck at seed, Denis laughed his rear-end off. Seriously, for almost a minute, he laughed. That's a long time to laugh at someone injuring themselves.
The Theatre department was notable for it's head of scenic design. Daniel was genuinely a genius, a hippie and someone that I may not have conversed with for more than 53 minutes during this pivotal stage of my human development. Still, his sincerity and honest commitment to purpose had a profound effect on me.  He still ranks as one of my favorite humans to have interacted with.
Our recital was supposed "proof" of our acting chops. I was genuinely happy that Daniel had come to see it and seemed to enjoy himself. I was even more happy that he stuck around to say something to us; he wasn't known to do either.
"That was the best thing I've ever seen."
The impact humans can have on one another, learning from other's experiences is the fuel that drives innovation.  Absent it, humanity would likely still be hiding in caves.  Compassion is the penultimate expression of the Maximum Power Principle.
It's also valuable to remember that simple acts like shaking a hand can have a profoundly positive impact on others while seemingly small acts of stupidity can have grave consequences.
Don't do stupid things.