Odds are funny things. I think we subconsciously allow odds to dictate our lives far more than most people realize. For instance, I love watching my kids swim in my pool even though there is a CHANCE they could all drown and die. Why? Well, because the odds of someone accidentally drowning is only 1 in 79,065. However, I won’t let my kids run across the major interstate during rush hour because the odds of my children surviving that isn’t nearly as good.
There are many things we allow ourselves to do because there is an acceptable level of risk involved. Since I was a kid, I’ve known that the odds of successfully navigating an asteroid field are 3,720 to 1 because C3PO just kinda knows these things and it worked out ok for Han Solo.
Speaking of asteroids, there is a 182,138,880,000,000 to 1 chance that a rock from outer space could crash into my living room, but I still sit on my sofa in my boxer shorts and play video games.
Another example of picking and choosing life changing events based on odds occurred to me in college. I gave up my dream of dating Jordana Brewster because my odds of dating a supermodel are 88,000 to 1.
My odds of dating Heather Miltimore on the other hand were much more reasonable.
Some other odds I found interesting was that even though there is a 576,000 to 1 chance of me being struck by lightening, I take courage in the fact that there is only a 2,320,000 to 1 chance of me actually being killed by lightening.
I wonder if this is what Ben Franklin told that stupid kid who he talked into flying that kite with him?
Now, in light of all of these crazy odds, here is one that is a little more disturbing. There is a 117 to 1 chance of you ending up on a plane sometime in your life with a drunken pilot. No, I didn’t miss a few extra zeros. That’s it folks: 117 to 1. Hell, that’s almost the same as your odds of being audited by the IRS sometime in your life, which is about 175 to 1. Unless, of course, you recently donated some money to a political right wing 501.c group. In that case, I hope you saved your receipts. But don’t worry about that drunken pilot thing. Your chances of actually dying in a plane crash is only 354,319 to 1. And as I just pointed out…you have a better chance of dating a supermodel sometime in your life than you do of dying in a plane crash, regardless of the sobriety of the pilot. So, “Mazel tov” and pour that pilot another round and don’t let that stop you from taking your family to Hawaii this Christmas.
Reviewing odds like this in the middle of summer gives me hope for my Dallas Cowboys winning the Super Bowl. Because if I think about the fact that there is a 20,000,000 to 1 chance of me becoming a recognized Saint in the Catholic church sometime in the future, it makes the fact that Las Vegas only has a 40 to 1 line against my Cowboys winning the Super Bowl this year way more exciting!
So cheer up, my faithful readers from Jacksonville, Oakland and Minnesota. Though your odds are somewhere around an IRS audit, there is still hope!