Perhaps the craziest coincidence I ever heard of was this: Many years ago, long before cell phones… there was a guy… let’s call him Bob, who worked somewhere downtown, and parked his car in the same reserved spot, in the same multi-story parkade — for years. His spot was near the booth at the entrance, where the booth guy worked many years as well… so the two got to know each other quite well. Always a good morning and good night on the way in and out, and sometimes Bob would stop to chat.
One particular evening, the two were chatting when the phone in the booth rang… which was unusual; there were never many incoming calls. The booth guy said excuse me to Bob and took the call… which was a wrong number, someone looking for “Bob”. As a joke, the booth guy handed the phone to Bob and said “It’s for you.”
Bob laughed and answered the phone…. “Hello…” — and was met by the voice of his wife, asking him to stop at Safeway to pick up a few things because they were having some friends over for dinner. An astonished Bob said sure honey, whatever… but wait… how did you reach me at this number? Turns out the wife had mis-dialled… turns out Bob’s office number and the booth number were very similar, and she’d simply dialled the wrong number… and found who she was looking for anyway. A crazy coincidence.
My crazy coincidence story is not quite so crazy — but it’s pretty good. About 10 years ago, I was in a meeting — one of these big board room meetings, lots of people, lots of lawyers. I was a little early, so I walked in, picked a spot and sat down. I looked around and with a few minutes to spare, doodled a bit and, for fun, started doing some mental math on how much this meeting was costing someone…. that guy is $300/h, that guy is probably $600/h… and that’s one of the partners… I wonder what he bills out at…
Anyway, as I sat there idling my brain, some lawyer sat down next to me an we introduced each other, and get to chatting… he was older… maybe 15 to 20 years older than me; idle chat, turns out he’s from Vancouver, turns out we grew up in the same neighbourhood… and, turns out we grew up on the same street. I ask him where, he says between X and Y streets…. Hey, me too! Which actual house? He gives me the address and… yeah. Wow. The house I grew up in. The house my parents bought in 1974 from a guy… I remember the name… something like let’s say Dr. Smythe… yes, same last name as this lawyer. My parents bought the house from this guy’s dad, so now we’re talking about the house itself and, of course, his bedroom… became my bedroom. How’s that for a crazy coincidence.
Want to know something that isn’t a crazy coincidence? The 4,000 new cases in Florida yesterday. The overcrowded Florida ICUs. The Apple stores, recently re-opened, now shutting down again in a number of states (including Florida), because of alarmingly high rising numbers. Also not a coincidence will be the fallout from tomorrow’s campaign rally in Tulsa.
Whereas in the past, we’ve been able to figure out by careful analysis what “super-spreader” events occurred, leading to massive breakouts… this is the first time we’ll be able to proactively predict one. The volatile, crowded mix of Trump supporters in a closed environment? No masks and lots of yelling? This is COVID-19’s dream scenario. It’s so scary, even if you’re watching from away on a screen… wear a mask.
Oklahoma has a population of 4 million. B.C. has a population of 5 million. No B.C. numbers today, but yesterday… Oklahoma had 450 new cases. B.C. had 8. Let’s re-visit these numbers in a couple of weeks… curious what we’ll see. Oh, big spike in Oklahoma… that’s kind of surprising, right? Hey, remember that rally… think it’s related? Nah. Just a coincidence.