Friday, August 24, 2007

What are the odds

Today Harrison and I went to North Charleston to do a little shopping at the outlet mall. We were in the Gymboree store and I ran into an old friend. We were best friends growing up. But, she was a year younger than me and when I moved on to junior high we sort of drifted apart. Even though we went to the same college, we never really became close friends again. After graduation we both moved on and haven't seen each other or been in close contact in over 15 years. It was such a surprise to see her and to learn that she too had just moved to Charleston.

After we talked, I started thinking what the odds were that I would run into someone I knew in a city this big and in a store at an outlet mall. Which of course got me to thinking about all of the other odds that we encounter in our lives. Like what are the odds I'll win a lottery (probably not real high) or get struck by lightening (higher if you stand out in a storm) or win a marathon (none if you are me since I don't run unless I am being chased). Do we position ourselves in such a manner that the odds of some things are greater than others? Or is it just pure luck?

Whatever it is that determines what happens, I am not alone in wondering about odds. When I did a Google search for "What are the odds", I came up with 15,200,000 results. Now I don't plan to read all of those (what are the odds that I could). But I did find one website that had some really interesting facts.

Have you ever wondered what the odds are that you'll:

strike it rich on the Antiques Roadshow: 60,000 to 1

get a hole in one: 5,000 to 1

catch a ball at a major league ballgame: 563 to 1

survive your first marriage for 15 years without separation or divorce : 1.3 to 1

be on plane with a drunken pilot: 117 to 1

become president: 10,000,000 to 1

be audited by the IRS: 175 to 1

find a four-leaf clover on first try: 10,000 to 1 (maybe if you did the IRS wouldn't audit you)

get an injury while shaving: 6,585 to 1 (bet those were higher in the days of straight razors)

drown in a bathtub: 685,000 to 1

spot a UFO: 3,000,000 to 1 (I know someone who once did. But that's a story for another day)

have a meteor land on your house: 182,138,880,000,000 to 1

contract mad cow disease: 1 in 40,000,000

die from a car accident: 1 in 18,585

die in an airplane accident: 1 in 354,319

As luck would have it (or is it that the odds were in my favor?) I found the answer to one of my original questions. Seems the odds of being struck by lightening are 576,000 to 1 so there is a pretty good chance that I won't have to worry about that one. And while there was no concrete answer to the odds of winning the lottery, if you want to try and calculate your odds, check out the Webmath website.

Now I am not about to become statistician, because honestly I don't like math all that much (well not at all to be perfectly honest). But I can tell you that the odds are pretty high that I will find something (and it may not be recognizable) in the dryer that came from my kid's pockets everytime I do laundry. And the odds are pretty high that my kids will drive me nuts and make me want to pull my hair out at least once during the week. And the odds are pretty high that at least one of my kids will make me laugh (most likely until I cry) and make me forget that they almost made me want to pull my hair out. But the odds are highest of all that when I go to bed at night I will thank God for letting me survive another day.


Donna said...

oh my... what a great story... loved it... i need to work on my creative writing... i forgot how much i liked reading all you gals writings...