It happened again last week. That dang carrot on a stick called Powerball.
I figured my one ticket might help the New Mexico Lottery Scholarship fund in some minuscule way. A $2 investment to me isn’t actually gambling, but it does buy you the rights to join in the ubiquitous conversations about what you would do if you won a cool million, like somebody did last week.
We all fantasize about taking care of our family for life, or quitting our jobs, or being noble and starting a charitable trust fund or foundation. Me, the first thing I would do is to get our 1987 Ford Ranger fixed up with a new paint job and new headliner. Okay, you’re right. I guess I could do that now if we cut down on superfluous groceries.
Ever since the pandemic started we’ve, however ludicrously, gotten into the mindset of picking up something like an extra can of beans or bottle of canola oil on each trip to the grocery store. I knew it had gotten out of hand when I realized our stash of Stovetop Stuffing had taken up the better part of a shelf in the pantry. Of course, I have to confess stuffing is one of the big comfort foods in our house, along with popcorn and peanut butter.
Speaking of which, this Sunday is National Peanut Butter Day, which raises the question, which is the pea-nuttiest? Better yet, who remembers the 1961 top 40 hit song, Peanut Butter by The Marathons?
“Well there’s a food goin’ round that’s a sticky, sticky goo.
It tastes so good but it’s so hard to chew.
All my friends tell me that they dig it the most
Early in the morning when they spread it on toast.”
The song never got voted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but it’s got a catchy hook and they could dance to it on American Bandstand. Whoops, there’s that danged nostalgia rearing its dusty old head again.
Fun fact: Archibutyrophobia is the fear of getting peanut butter stuck to the roof of your mouth. In any case, peanut butter is high in antioxidants, good for your heart, can help prevent certain cancers, keeps your brain healthy, and can help fight stress.
I guess Elvis had the right idea with his peanut butter and nanner sandwiches.
But I digress.
The odds of winning Powerball are 292 million to 1, which is slightly better than the 300 million to 1 of you or I being President of the United States. Full disclosure here: I didn’t do too well in the stats class when I took Psychology in college.
But moving on, according to statistics you have a better chance of winning an Academy Award than winning Powerball. Could it all come down to just pure unadulterated chance? But then again, to quote Edward Everett Horton in the 1933 movie The Gay Divorcee, “chance is a fool’s name for fate.”
I ran across an article on the web that said you have a better chance of being crushed to death by a vending machine than winning Powerball. The chance of that happening is 1 in 112 million.
The morbidly curious part of me found out that I only had a 1 in 185 chance of being killed (yikes!) in Vietnam. When you look at it that way, winning Powerball doesn’t mean a thing, big picture-wise. If you think about it, we’re all pretty lucky even without winning the lottery.
Just for fun, I looked up some random things that are more likely to happen to you than winning Powerball.
Being wrongfully convicted of a crime, 1 in 3,703
Catching a foul ball at a baseball game, 1 in 563
Being deemed possessed by Satan, 1 in 7,000
Dying from using a right-handed product when you’re left-handed, 1 in 7 million
Becoming a movie star, 1 in 1.4 million
Winning an Academy Award, 1 in 11,500
Becoming an astronaut, 1 in 12 million
Being burned to death by your pajamas spontaneously combusting, 1 in 20 million
Being President of the United States, 1 in 10 million
Winning an Olympic Gold Medal, 1 in 662,000
Being canonized by the Catholic Church, 1 in 20 million
Dying from coming into contact with hot tap water, 1 in 5 million
Suffocating in bed, 1 in 2 million
Flying with a drunk airline pilot, 1 in 117
Dying in a plane crash, 1 in 11 million
Losing an appendage in a chainsaw accident, 1 in 4,464
Being killed by radiation leaking from a nearby nuclear power plant, 1 in 10 million
Going to the emergency room with a pogo-stick related injury, 1 in 115,300
Being crushed by a meteorite, 1 in 700,000
And none of these would qualify you for a Darwin Award. Except maybe the pogo-stick one…