The Great Arkansas Coincidence of 2002
I've been studying odds as they relate to poker lately, and a few weird things have happened in real life the last few days that really got me pondering coincidences. I was randomly browsing links in the Wikipedia yesterday and read the entire article on Robert Heinlein. Then a conversation about Robert Heinlein blossomed on a mailing list of old Malleteers that I belong to.
Then today I was browsing the Wikipedia again and somehow stumbled onto an article about Fatty Arbuckle which I read along with some related links. Then they started talking about Fatty Arbuckle on NPR while I was driving home from work this afternoon.
Those are pretty good ones, but on the list of amazing coincidences in the life of Hatch, the greatest one happened back in 2002 on the outskirts of Little Rock, Arkansas.
Marissa and I had driven to Little Rock that morning to attend the memorial service for her step-brother Brian, who had just passed away from cancer. After a long day we were leaving Little Rock and headed back east towards Nashville.
I like to sing, even though I know my voice is not all that great. As we were cruising down the interstate, Marissa made a comment about how it was gonna be a long drive. I started singing the theme from "Smokey and the Bandit."
"East bound and down, loaded up and trucking, we gonna do what they say can't be done. We got a long way to go, and a ...."
"Oh my God, please no," yelled Marissa.
The radio was turned completely off at this point and as she yelled she leaned forward and slapped the button to turn it on.
There was a half second pause...
Out of the speakers came the opening chords to "East Bound and Down", playing on a local country station that we had been tuned to earlier.
There was a shocked moment where neither of us did anything, but then I started laughing hysterically and soon began singing the song again, this time accompanied by Jerry Reid. Marissa sat there in shock shaking her head while I sang the rest of a song that was last played regularly on the radio around 1977 or so. I have no idea how to calculate the odds accurately in this situation, but I suspect it would be high.
To take a very rough and possibly wrong stab at it, I would say the odds of me starting to sing any given song I've heard and know some lyrics to are probably 1 in 3000 or so, which is probably how many songs I know. So even if the radio station had the exact same list of songs, the odds of the station and I picking the same song at the same time are One in Nine Million? Then you have to adjust for the fact that I picked it within 10 seconds of them starting the song, plus other factors and I think the odds go up from there.
P.S. No, I didn't have to look up the lyrics. I love the song.