Mulligan Stew: May the odds be with you

With the huge Powerball jackpots these days, almost everyone is making a list of “Things More Likely to Happen than Winning the Lottery.”

The complete list would include everything that has happened to anyone who has NOT won the lottery. Ponder that for a minute.

The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot? One in 292,201,338.

So here are some things that sound like long shots but really aren’t.

My odds of giving birth to a baby with Down syndrome were one in 1,200, but I did it.

My odds of getting Cryptococcus in my lungs: 1 million per year out of 8 billion people worldwide. Check that off, too.

Surviving an abdominal aorta wound with arterial bleeding. Not a good thing to happen but the odds aren’t too bad. One in five. Check.

My odds of getting breast cancer, one in eight.  Piece of cake. Check.

I’m wondering, if you HAVE had any of these things, should you buy a lottery ticket? If you’ve survived a cancer, are you a lucky person, giving you better odds at winning the Powerball?

Or does someone else get all the really good luck?

I know three people who have won a million dollars or more. Without naming names, they were a man in Argos, my sister-in-law’s mother, and a former neighborhood kid from Lake of the Woods. And my aunt won $100,000.

Anyway, you are more apt to experience any of these 15 scenarios than winning the lottery:

1. You have better odds at being killed by a venomous snake, a poisonous plant, a bee sting, a bolt of lightning, a grizzly bear, a shark, an asteroid strike or in a plane crash. My dad survived a bite by a Black Widow spider. My daughter’s psychiatrist from Warsaw died in a plane crash. And my uncle was piloting a small plane that crashed, killing the friend with him.

2. Getting audited by the IRS. Yup. Pre-lottery days, a former employer withheld taxes from a financial hardship withdrawal by yours truly, but didn’t remit those taxes to the IRS. Fortunately, H&R Block kept the form that showed taxes were withheld and it wasn’t my fault that it wasn’t paid.

3. You have better chances of finding a pearl in an oyster. Finding a pearl you lost from a piece of jewelry does not count, even if it falls into a helping of oyster stuffing.

4. Dating a supermodel. My husband dated me. I’m more of an obsolete model, so close enough.

5. You have better odds of having conjoined twins. My first cousin had a daughter with a “parasitic twin,” which means it was an undeveloped conjoined twin.

6. Being an astronaut trainee. I know a couple licensed pilots who are always dreaming of flying the fancy stuff, without the part where they splash down in the ocean.

7. You have better chances of being wrongly convicted of a felony. Who wants to beat those odds?

8. Becoming a movie star. A former stepsister-in-law was in in one of the Jaws sequels. 

9. Getting a hole in one in golf. A co-contributor to this column did, and so did another friend, too. 

10. You have better chances of being drafted by a professional sports team.  My own nephew was being courted by the Chicago White Sox but then, during a routine physical, they found he had a heart anomaly, much like the one suffered by Bills safety Damar Hamlin. Fortunately, they caught, and repaired, my nephew’s defect. The Sox didn’t even send him a get-well card.

11. Going to the E.R. with a pogo stick injury. To make this one more interesting, the injury MUST occur while jumping on a pogo stick in a store. Entering from stage right, my ex-husband, who needed stitches.

12. Your odds are better that you will be canonized (made a saint) by the pope. The closest I got was seeing see the very top of the Popemobile, from a distance, in New York City.

13. You have better chances of becoming the U.S. president. Close, but no cigar, to two vice presidents I’ve met: Dan Quayle and Mike Pence. And Bremen’s own former Dr. Otis R. Bowen was on Ronald Reagan’s cabinet, as Secretary of Health and Human Services. He was 12th in the line of succession.

15. You are more likely to win a gold medal at the Olympics than you are at winning the lottery. The only way I’d win a medal is if binge-watching “Gilmore Girls” were an Olympic sport. And then I’d probably get a silver, conceding to my sister’s gold. 

I’m not saying you can’t win the Powerball. If you have an extra $2 and you want to take a chance, buy a ticket.  If you don’t approve of gambling, don’t buy one. And if you have a problem with gambling, Indiana residents can call 855-222-554). I’d almost bet they have operators waiting