Certainly, there are some very long odds out there.
A spin or two around the Internet for me turned up some pretty interesting samples, ones I would have no idea how anyone could calculate, but ones, no doubt, compiled by a somewhat nerdy guy with glasses held together by tape atop the bridge of his nose, a guy who spends most of his waking hours dedicated to the pursuit of trying to come up with a statistic that represents the likelihood of something happening.
At least, that’s the image I have in my head.
According to the website PRLog, the odds of someone ever slipping in the bath or shower and dying are 2,232 to 1. The odds of someone ever dating a supermodel are 88,000 to 1. That gives you some idea of the odds Yankee star shortstop Derek Jeter has beaten numerous times in his illustrious bachelor career that he’s had simultaneously with his stellar career on the diamond, at least if we’re to believe the tabloids.
The odds of someone getting a royal flush in poker on the first five cards dealt are 649,740 to 1. And, the odds of being canonized into sainthood are 20,000 to 1. Finally, try filing this one on your homeowner’s. The odds of your house being hit by a meteor are 1.82 trillion to 1.
Now, the reason I’ve been thinking about long odds these days has nothing to do with any secret dream that I might be able to wrest Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Brooklyn Decker away from her professional tennis-playing husband, Andy Roddick.
What’s got me thinking about odds a lot recently is because of something that happened to four pals of mine, Jim and Diane Lee, and Chris and Ann Fisher, on a recent motorcycle trip in the Rocky Mountains.
Like many of you, I really love to travel. And, if I have used my current allotment of days off and/or budgeted travel-splurge money for a period of time, I certainly am not averse to listening to the stories of other people’s trips.
Who knows? By listening to others and checking out a few of their vacation pictures, I may very well be inspired to take a similar excursion.
Now, since the last bike I ever pointed in the direction of the open road was a Schwinn, I wasn’t listening to their tales from the Rockies and surrounding areas with the intent of finding a Harley or a Kawasaki and throttling up, or down, depending upon which one means you go faster (all things motor-related have always pretty much mystified me).
But, I was interested in their selected locale. Along with a third couple, Rick and Barb Atkins, the Lees and the Fishers loaded their bikes onto a trailer, hooked the trailer to a truck and drove to the Rockies, as an immortal mandate played in their heads. It’s the command that the musical group of our youth, Steppenwolf, still sings today while on tour, the command that celebrates the vibrancy and indestructibility of youth (even for 50-somethings) and the allure of wanderlust, “Get your motor running/Head out on the highway!”
According to Jim Lee, it was the second year in a row that he and Diane have biked the Rockies, and both years they included on their itinerary a trip to one of the mot remote places in the United States.
It’s known quite simply as Four Corners, and it has the rarest distinction of being the only place in America where four states — Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado — come together.
According to Jim, there’s a platform a couple of steps up with a brass plaque marking the spot, with lines scored much like the four-square court you remember from your youth. The lines separate each of the four states.
Picture yourself, in some game of Twister placing two hands and two feet in all four states. Aside from a small visitors center and a few crafts booths where the Navajo Nation, which also maintains the monument on its lands, sell wares, that’s the attraction in this pretty desolate part of the United States.
Jim told me that if one were to look a hundred miles in any direction, all that he would see are mountains in the distance, tumbleweeds, rocks, sand, a freshly poured black ribbon of asphalt upon which our road warriors conveyed themselves.
And, that’s precisely the dot on the map that Jim told me, in BOTH of the last two years, when he and Diane were there with their friends and fellow bike enthusiasts, at that exact moment in, with no more than a handful of others besides those in their group, they met someone else from Lima.
This year, with Chris and Ann Fisher and Rick and Barb Atkins as his audience, my friend, Jim Lee, who’s as quick with a quip as he is on his Kawasaki, shot a glance and a wink at Diane upon his discovery that there was another present from Lima for the second straight year, looked back at this year’s fellow Beantowners and said, “Listen, if I ever decide to have an affair, remind me not to take my new girlfriend here!”
His meaning was, of course, what with the way people from Lima gravitate toward this remote patch of American soil, the odds of his indiscretion being discovered would simply be too strong!
John Grindrod: A time for hope and prayers in this small town