Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Lightning the load

So today I got struck by lightning – literally.

I was in a plane headed to St. Louis Missouri to speak at a teacher’s conference. As the plane was taxiing toward the runway to take off we heard a loud thump. The same sound I imagine a potato would make if hurled by a big league pitcher against the fuselage. I figured something fell over in the cargo hold or maybe the pilot was drunk and slipped out of his chair in the cabin. Couple folks looked up but nobody seemed too concerned and we continued on and took off into the wild blue yonder.

Well, about fifteen minutes into the flight the captain crackled over the loudspeaker and informed us that while we were sitting on the runway, with barely a cloud in the sky, no rain at all, we were struck by a rogue bolt of lightening. He let us know that planes are designed to take such hits but as a precautionary measure we were returning to Cleveland Hopkins to swap this newly hit by lightening plane with on that had not been so christened.

What are the odds?

Funny you should ask.

The odds of being struck by lightning in a given year are 1 in 576,000 – now I don’t know for sure what effect the fact that everyone else on the plane was involved as well has to do with this actuarial table – does that make the odds go down divided by the number of folks or does it make the odds go up?

So right now let’s just say I got hit by lightning a 1 in 576,000 chance.

What other occurrences hover in and around that realm of likelihoods?

Winning an Olympic gold medal - 662,000 to 1
Drowning in a bathtub – 685,000 to 1
Dying in terrorist attack while visiting a foreign country 650,000 to 1
Chance of dying by choking on food 377,000 to 1

And a couple random odds

Being audited by the IRS - 175 to 1
Being considered possessed by Satan - 7,000 to 1
Catching a ball at a major league ballgame - 563 to 1
Meteor landing on your house - 182,138,880,000,000 to 1

So – this year’s travel season starts quite factually, with a bang.


Jesus Crisis said...

Besides being considered possessed by Satan, I've missed out on all of the above.

I'm feeling rather unenlightninged

Kelly W. said...

Yeah, and I love it how you just called me and left this little tidbit of info on my voicemail like "Oh, don't forget to call that person back from Texas and btw, we got struck by lightning. BYE!"