What are the odds?

Published 9:14 pm Tuesday, February 7, 2012

By Rex Alphin

Arising, Henry pulled himself from his warm abode and bumbled to the bathroom. Reaching into the cabinet he pulled his razor out and commenced his morning ritual. The thought never crossed his mind he could injure himself shaving (1 in 6,585).

Beside him was the bathtub, an apparatus in which people had been known to drown (1 in 685,000). Henry glanced in the mirror and wondered, with a face like that, his chances of ever dating a super model (1 in 88,000).

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“If I were president” (1 in 10 million), he thought, “I’d change a few things around here.” He dressed and headed to the door, kissing his bride of 18 years on the way. Passing through his fresh-cut yard (1 in 3,623 hurt mowing lawn), he glanced to the sky for a check on the weather (1 in 2.3 million are struck by lightning) and looked for anything threatening (1 in 3 million will spot a UFO today).

Getting into his dark green Chevy, he started his long-memorized route to work. Traffic was bad, as usual (1 in 18,585 die in car accidents), and Henry got a bad taste in his mouth for the trip ahead (1 in 370,035 die from choking on food).

He thought of his upcoming flight to Los Angeles (1 in 354,319 will die in an airplane accident) and cringed at the thought of being away from his family for so long. During his absence, he would miss the children’s choir performance at church. Maybe one day he would not travel so much. He’d shoot off fireworks when that day came (1 in 19,556 will get injured by fireworks).

Almost at work, he made his usual quick stop at the mini-mart as a plane flew overhead (1 in 10 million will die from falling airplane parts), and a dog barked down the street (1 in 700,000 will die from a dog bite). His heart quickened as he went through his daily ritual: a honey bun (1 in 3 million will die from food poisoning) and one of his most anticipated acts of the day.

He knew the fact they were advertised at the counter was no accident. If Henry ever hit the Powerball jackpot, his troubles would be over. The task was really quite simple: Just get the numbers right.

He had long dreamed how he would use his earnings. No job, no irritating boss, no debt, the easy life. His chances were just as good as anyone’s. All he had to do was get those few numbers right and “Shazam!” he was a rich man.

His hands trembled as he darkened in his choices. He could see himself holding that monster check now! Today, he felt the odds were in his favor (chance of winning jackpot: 1 in 175 million).