A mug’s guide to beating the odds
“Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.”
I START today with an apology.
This one goes out to all the fashionistas and bearded hipsters, the once-a-year gamblers and Cup theory ramblers, the hard-luck-Harrys and underthe-weather Carries.
If you want to blame anyone for your sodden Melbourne Cup experience, blame me.
I made a classic mistake last Sunday. I washed my car.
This is not the first time I’ve broken a hot spell by washing my car, throwing countless plans into chaos. It’s happened often enough to convince me there must be some sort of causal relationship.
Surely I’m not the only one to whom this has happened.
Of course, this clearly is not an exact science. If it was, farmers would be out washing their SUVs or utes every other day and droughts would be unknown.
Still, the frequency with which it has happened is right up there with the Cats losing if I watch them on television — or listen to them on the radio — not that I’m taking sole responsibility for all of last season’s disappointments. What are the odds? I’ve been thinking a lot about odds and probability recently — and not just because of the Spring Racing Carnival. For instance, our recent holiday to China exposed us to humanity on a scale we hadn’t experienced before and will likely never do so again. To set the scene, Shanghai has a population greater than Australia, Beijing only slightly less so. No matter what time of day or night we were on the road, our bus would invariably en- counter gridlock. Each city’s subway system accommodates more than nine million people. Every day.
Among our itinerary was a brief visit to the Great Wall of China at Juyongguan. Most estimates suggest roughly 10 million people a year visit the Great Wall — which equates to just over 3000 people an hour for each hour it is open daily.
Among that throng, my wife and I found ourselves catching our breath midway up our climb and standing next to a young man who seemed familiar to her, and she to him.
Turns out he used to be a parking attendant at Market Square. If that wasn’t far fetched enough, two days later we bumped into him again in Beijing.
What are the odds indeed.