I’m a math guy, so I know that most coincidences are nothing more than people making a big deal out of something that, in fact, is quite likely. I’m not impressed when two people at a cocktail party have the same birthday or when nearly 30% of the people at that same party have a street address that begins with the digit 1.
Nor was I impressed when the Oregon newspaper The Colombian printed a winning number for the state lottery in advance. The probability that the number they accidentally printed on June 27, 2000, which was 6-8-5-5, would actually win the Pick 4 game the following day was 1/10,000. Not likely, to be sure, but not out of the question.
But is it just a coincidence that Douglas Adams claimed that 42 is “the answer to life, the universe, and everything,” and that Oreo cookies can be obtained by pressing 42 on the vending machine in my office?
And is it just a coincidence that ELEVEN + TWO = TWELVE + ONE?
Well, yeah. Probably.
But something happened yesterday that was so strange, it cannot be brushed aside as mere coincidence.
My son Alex was home sick from school. Around two o’clock, he said, “Daddy, I smell blood.” I checked to make sure he wasn’t bleeding… then I checked to make sure that I wasn’t bleeding, either. There was no blood to be found. A couple of hours later, we went to pick up his twin brother Eli at school, and Miss Vanessa at after-school care told me that Eli had an accident.
“He fell and hurt his knee,” she said, “and there was blood everywhere.”
Blood? I asked what time that happened. “Around two o’clock,” she said.
With twin boys, I suspect that there will be similar coincidences in the future. For instance, I suspect that I will one day receive a call saying that both boys were caught in a co-ed dorm after curfew. How weird would that be?
But I’m not phased. Coincidences are very common in my family. For example, my mother and father got married on the same day!
To check out some truly random statistical coincidences, click on over to www.coincidenceithinknot.com.
The following joke is based on a fun math coincidence.
Saul: It’s -40 outside.
Paul: Fahrenheit or Celsius?
Saul: When it’s that cold, it’s impossible to tell the difference.
It’s just a coincidence that -40° F = -40° C.
Or is it?