What Are The Odds?


Did you ever play the lottery?

In October of 2018, for the $1 billion Mega Millions lotto, your odds of winning the big prize was 1 in 88 quadrillion..

That’s a one, followed by 15 zeroes.

A million only has 6 zeroes.

So, maybe you would be happy with one of the smaller prizes.

Those odds are a little better.

1 in 302 million.

For that paltry $345M Powerball jackpot, the odds were a little better; 1 in 292 million.

You have a much better chance at being struck by lightning in your lifetime; 1 in 3,000 chances.

(So when you hear it thunder, don’t run under a tree!)

In 2011, the New York Times calculated you had a 1 in 5 million chance of being killed by a tornado. The odds jump to 50 in 5 million of you reside in a mobile home.

(Based on local TV coverage, I suspect it’s even higher if you carry unfiltered cigarettes, rolled up in your t-shirt sleeve).

You have a one in 60 million chance of being killed in a plane crash.

However, 95.7% of passengers survive plane crashes.

There’s about a 1 in 103 chance that you’ll die in a car crash and 4.4 million of us will require hospitalization despite greater safety features in our vehicles.

Higher speeds and distracted driving are the main culprits.

Despite what television news might lead you to believe, you’re more likely to be crushed to death by a piece of falling furniture than to die in a terrorist attack.

You also have a 1 in 11,125 chance of dying in a mass shooting.

Years ago, Ann Hodges defied the odds of 1 in 3,000 when she was hit by 8.5 pound piece of a meteorite about the size of a softball. The 4.5 billion year old space rock crashed through her roof, bounced off a radio console and left a nasty bruise on her left hip.

How many budding high school athletes dream of a pro sports career?

About 6% of today’s athletes will make it to an NCAA college team and typically 1.5% of those will wind up getting paid to play as a pro although it is a little higher for basketball and hockey players.

Maybe that degree isn’t such a bad idea after all.

By the way, you only have a 1 in 835 chance to catch a foul ball at a baseball game.

Speaking of sports, the odds of you coming up with the perfect “March Madness bracket is about 1 in 9.2 quintillion.

That’s a number with 18 zeroes after it.

You only have a 0.00015% chance of being dealt a royal flush out of 2.6 million possible hands in a normal 5 card game.

Ante up!

Now, here’s a sobering fact.

As you practice “social distancing” today, did you know there’s a 50/50 chance the person behind you can’t read a book written on an 8th grade level?

Thirty-two million American adults can’t read.

We always grumble about our elected officials but did you know there’s a 90% chance your congressional representative will get voted in again?

I know.

It’s always the OTHER guy.

If that makes you ill, consider you have a 1 in 6 chance of experiencing food poisoning this year.

If you watch television, you’d think CPR is saving lives by the truckload.

Fact is, less than 1 in 5 people receiving CPR recover although it still doubles or triples your chance of surviving cardiac arrest.

Maybe your odds would be improved if you found a 4-leaf clover.

About 1 in every 10,000 clovers have 4 leaves, thanks to a genetic mutation.

But, you could be like that Australian woman who found 21 of those 4-leafed clovers in her front yard in 2014.

I must confess to scanning clover patches in my back yard for a 4-leafer from time to time.

I have intimated from time to time about what a crapshoot life is to begin with.

A case in point.

We each had a one in 5.5 trillion chance of being born.

Think about it.

Our parents had to meet, there’s that egg and sperm thing that had to click and let’s not even think about the relatives that had to fall in place to make you, as we know you, happen.

Since 2020 is a leap year, what about the odds of being born on February 29th?

It’s about 1 in 1,461 which is 365 days times 4 plus 1.

You have a better chance of dying on your birthday, or one in 365 and although oddsmakers say we’re 6.7% more likely to die on the day we blow out those candles.

You actually have a better chance of cracking open a double-yolked egg.

You’d find one every 3 years if you cracked an egg daily.

I hope you like omelets or scrambled eggs!

So what prompted all these odds and chances?

One in 6 of us will die from heart disease in any given year and about 1 in 7 of us will die from some form of cancer.

Of 1,000 people infected with COVID-19, slightly more men than women will die (about 5) but if you’re mid 70’s or older, the number is 116 out of 1,000.

That’s still lagging behind heart disease and cancer.

But you should wear that mask because, don’t forget, there’s about a 1 in 11 chance that the adult behind you can’t read the sign that says we should stay 6 feet apart.

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