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What are the chances

July 30, 2014
By Larry DeHays , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Sometimes people want to know the odds of something happening, like winning the lottery. Actually, that is the same as getting bitten by a shark, (not bad if you stay out of the water), or what the chance is it will rain on their barbecue. Does a forecast for a 50 percent chance of rain mean it will rain for 50 percent of the day, or rain over 50 percent of the land, (which is what they claim) or is there a 50 percent chance that the weather people are wrong? If the latter is true, it proves that they've been flipping coins. I've always suspected that. If the boating forecast is winds likely to reach 10 to 15 mph, it must mean to ADD 10 to 15, because every time I go out it will be 25 mph. They use a dart board for that forecast. This proves that the problem is in trying to explain the odds using numbers. Let's try it by comparing the chances of something happening, to familiar but different scenarios. For instance suppose you are planning to take a trip, driving the old family beater the entire way. You have a tight budget, and there isn't anything in it for prepping the car. What are the odds of you making it without a car problem? Answer: about the same as watching the evening news on television without seeing a drug commercial. Make that a dozen drug commercials.

If you plaster your car with sheriff association and police benevolent society decals, what are the odds of the police giving you a break on a traffic violation? Answer: about the same as our chances of being allowed to win a war since W.W.II. Cessation of hostilities doesn't count.

What are the odds of an NRA decal on your car deterring a bad guy? Car burglars are looking for money and guns in parked cars. That decal might mean the odds are good there's a gun available in yours.

If you shop around by phone for the cheapest price before selecting a repair shop, what are the odds you will get a good job done on your car? Answer: about the same as buying the cheapest cut of meat available and getting a nice tender steak for dinner.

Your car needs a lot of repair work done. If you trade it in for another used car, what are the odds of getting a better car than you now have? First, ask yourself this. Where will your car go after you trade it in? Answer: either on the car lot, or to the auction. Where will you find your next car? Answer: same places. Chance of getting a better one is the same as everyone else's, including the guy who buys your car. The only way to improve your odds, is to have it inspected by an impartial mechanic before you buy it.

If we had stricter traffic laws and better enforcement of them, what are the odds of having fewer traffic deaths? Answer: about the same as passing stricter gun ownership laws would reduce mass shootings. Although it would deter the law abiding mass shooters. (Oxymoron anyone?)

"I got a lousy repair job from a local guy. I've taken it back over and over, but it seems to be getting worse each time I pick it up. He's the one I paid for the job, so I have to keep taking it to him. What are the odds that he'll get it right eventually?" Answer: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of:

A. Intelligence

B. Persistence

C. Hopefulness

D. Insanity

Your pick. Take your time. If he's still got your car, do it again. Over and over.



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