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  • What Are The Odds?

    November 25, 2008

    The following statistics are based on my own personal scientific research over a period of four decades.

    If you are wearing a black shirt and you attempt to put on deodorant, there is a 97% chance you will get the deodorant on the bottom of your shirt.  If you attempt to put on deodorant while wearing a black shirt and a blindfold, the odds of getting deodorant on your shirt increase to 97.2%   If you have no other clean shirts to wear and you are rushing out the door to give a speech, the odds increase exponentially.

    If you are drinking coffee while wearing a white shirt, there is 98% chance you will get coffee on the front.  There is a 98.5% chance the spot will be right on your boob.  If the shirt is dry-clean only the odds increase to 100%.

    If you are putting on earrings and the drain in the sink is not plugged, the chances that you will drop an earring into the sink are 89.9%.  The odds that it will disappear down the drain are 99.9%  If it is cheap costume jewelry, the odds decrease slightly.  Unless you really like the earrings, then the like factor cancels out the cheap factor and you are back at 99.9% give or take.

    If you drive away from the drive-through lane without checking the bag, the odds that something was left out are 93.7%

    If you have a dog and an ink pen and a light colored expensive rug, the odds that the three will at some point intersect are 94%.  Ironically, these are the same odds that you could own a dog with a tattoo on her tongue. The odds that a dog would chew up an ink pen on a Walmart rug? Zip.

    If you have a child and an ink pen and textiles of any kind any where in your home, the odds that the three will intersect in an unpleasant manner are calculated using square roots and other complicated mathematical formula — let’s just say very high.

    The odds of choosing the one restroom stall out of eleven that is out of toilet paper are around 87%.

    If you have your hands full of groceries and manage to open the door with your foot, the odds that one of the grocery bags will catch on the handle of the door as you walk past thereby jerking you off your feet and spilling all your groceries are 92%.  Ironically these are the same odds that you will catch the pocket of your best slacks on door knobs that reach out and grab things.

    The odds of dropping your cell phone into the 1/8 inch space between your seat and the console of your car (you know, that space that is too small for your hand) are 82%.  The odds that it will lodge under your seat and you will have to stop the car and push the seat all the way back to retrieve it are 99%.  The odds that your husband will call you while the phone is under the car seat is 99.7%.  The same odds apply to car keys.  Any necessary item of any size will magically be able to pass through the narrow space between the car seat and the console. This space is known to have the same vacuum-like physical properties of a black hole.  French fries with ketchup on the other hand are more likely to land on your white pants than into your car’s black hole.

    If you are up on a ladder in the attic with a box of  heirloom ornaments in your hands and you hear the phone ring and you break your neck and possibly some heirloom ornaments to answer it, the odds that it will be a computer call or a telemarketer are 93%.  However, if you choose not to answer it, the odds are 100% that it will be your doctor calling about that suspicious mole. And he will be out of town for the next two weeks.

    Feel free to report the findings of your own studies.

    UPDATE: The day you plan to take a family Christmas picture, there is a 94% chance your child will fall and get a big bruise on his face. Seriously.

    55 Comments »

    1. Krista says:

      Ha ha ha ha! Nice. I have a trick for deodorant though. Rub the shirt against itself and the smudge will fade significantly!

      November 25th, 2008 at 12:46 am

    2. chickadee@afamiliarpath says:

      sounds like you’ve done your research!

      November 25th, 2008 at 1:03 am

    3. Diamond Girl says:

      I qualify for the 40 plus years of scientific research. Odds are 100% if you leave a clean room for a New York skinny minute when you return to said room you will have some sort of mess to clean up. Odds are 100% if you make perfect plans and then blink plans will change, but no one bothers to tell you of said changes.If your blindfolded I bet 50% you are playing Pirate with ___. Well you fill in the blank. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!!

      November 25th, 2008 at 1:10 am

    4. Cyndi says:

      I just posted on my own blog that there is a 99.8% certainty that the furnace repair guy will want to come by during the one hour I need to be gone tomorrow.

      November 25th, 2008 at 1:40 am

    5. Joanna says:

      And here I thought just MY butt would reach out and grab the door knob. It said it was just trying to help close the door.

      I would say your findings are 98% correct and 100% funny.

      November 25th, 2008 at 3:10 am

    6. JanMary, N Ireland says:

      LOL! Murphy’s Law rules!!!

      (PS Did you send me any photos yet? Have not received any, and worried my laptop has gobbled them up!)

      November 25th, 2008 at 3:39 am

    7. Brigitte says:

      We have found that if our cable-provided phone service goes out, there is a 98.7% chance that an emergency will arise requiring we walk over to the neighbor’s and impose on them for use of their cell phone. Though there is a 99% chance they’re not home from work yet.

      November 25th, 2008 at 6:06 am

    8. Ginnie says:

      …and there’s a very large chance that, after you’ve given, to someone who has only one pierced ear, the remaining earring from what used to be a favorite pair, and you have to have the bathroom vanity replaced, the plumber will find and return to you the earring lost in the drain.

      November 25th, 2008 at 6:44 am

    9. Donna W says:

      So very true!

      November 25th, 2008 at 7:23 am

    10. Damsel says:

      All of your statistics are true and correct, and all of them increase to 110% when one is pregnant. After the sixth month of pregnancy, odds increase to 120%.

      Go on, ASK me how I know this. 😛

      November 25th, 2008 at 7:30 am

    11. Cyndi says:

      In my car, there’s a 75% chance that my windshield washer fluid will be out when I need it!

      You can also get rid of deodorant smudges by rubbing them with a nylon. I kid you not!

      November 25th, 2008 at 9:38 am

    12. HarryJacksMom says:

      Now that’s a wonderful way to spin my lifetime of clutsiness….scientific research at its best 😉 You always help right my view 🙂 Wishing you 100% chance of a loving and wonderful Thanksgiving!

      November 25th, 2008 at 10:03 am

    13. Heidi says:

      If you decide to dash into Wal-Mart real quick for ONE item and have not showered yet or applied makeup, the odds of running into the wife of your husband’s CEO are about 99.9%

      So I’ve heard.

      * * * *
      … or your kid’s teacher, or the pastor, or the lady in the neighborhood who always looks perfect and you can tell from her pinched smile that a) she thinks you are nuts or b) she thinks you smell odd. (however, one or the other is usually true on any given day.)

      My research validates your data Heidi.

      ~ AM

      November 25th, 2008 at 10:11 am

    14. Jessica says:

      Yes, but what are the odds of finding such a humorous writer such as yourself….10%? Great post.

      November 25th, 2008 at 10:17 am

    15. Rose says:

      The narrow space in the car always grabs my phone! It’s true– thanks for your probability stats! There’s a 100% chance that we all got a good laugh!

      November 25th, 2008 at 10:30 am

    16. Jean says:

      Jessica said it all.

      November 25th, 2008 at 10:41 am

    17. Dev says:

      When you are sitting at a red stoplight, eating lunch in the car ‘cuz you are soon to be late for work after taking a final, the odds of the STOPLIGHT falling ON TOP OF YOUR CAR are pretty darn high. But I guess that’s only if you have my style of luck.

      Exact calculations to follow.

      And yes. That’s a true story.

      * * * *
      Bright side? What a great excuse for being late! ~ AM

      November 25th, 2008 at 10:49 am

    18. Jann says:

      Loved this! Every time one of these things happens (as they often do with me) the first thing that pops into my head is, “What are the odds?” You’ve answered all my questions!

      November 25th, 2008 at 10:57 am

    19. NancysLostandFound says:

      Scientifc data usually puts me in a glazing eye trance 98% of the time. Not today though. Thanks for pushing me into the other 2% with all your sad-but-true funnies!

      November 25th, 2008 at 11:33 am

    20. Sarah at themommylogues says:

      My findings are consistent with the data you’ve collected. I’d like to add to Heidi’s Wal-mart research, that the opposite is also true. If you’re feeling put together, complete with makeup and clothes that make you feel good, and even nice looking shoes and a good hair day, you will run into NO ONE. AT ALL. 99.8%.

      * * * *

      My scientific resaerch bears that out Sarah, that is indeeed true, although the odds of me being totally pulled together and having a good hair day are about .5%

      ~ AM

      November 25th, 2008 at 11:33 am

    21. Lela says:

      So funny, but yet SO TRUE!

      November 25th, 2008 at 11:46 am

    22. TeacherMommy says:

      If you’ve packed up everything you’re going to need in the diaper bag, including snacks, diapers/pullups, wipes, changes of clothing, and cups of water, the odds that you will forget said diaper bag right by the door and not realize it until you’ve arrived at your destination is 85.4%.

      And if you’ve forgotten the bag, the odds that you will actually NEED the contents (particularly the diapers/pullups, wipes, and changes of clothing) increase by 50%.

      November 25th, 2008 at 11:56 am

    23. TeacherMommy says:

      OH! And if you’re at the mall and your 19-month-old decides he needs to be carried rather than ride in the stroller, the odds that he will discover that your top has a conveniently stretchy neckline that, when pulled with inhuman strength, will expose Mommy’s bra and its contents to the world around you is 98%.

      And the odds that JUST AT THAT MOMENT one of your students (or, I suppose, pastor/pastor’s wife/husband’s boss/etc.–choose what is most embarrassing) will walk directly by you and say hello are 100%.

      True story.

      * * * *
      Oh yes. Once when I was carrying Sean out of McDonalds, he unsnapped my shirt clear down to my waist in the parking lot thereby either thrilling or disgusting the entire drive through line. ~ AM

      November 25th, 2008 at 11:59 am

    24. Cara says:

      Well, if the point of this post was to make me sit here, smile and nod my head in agreement, then this is the perfect post!!!

      November 25th, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    25. Sarah says:

      hahahahahahahahahahh…sooo funny!

      November 25th, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    26. Janna says:

      Thanks for the laugh!

      In my 38 years of experience, all of it is completely true (and add iPod to the cell phone in the car scenario – my husband just did this!) except the part about a ladder in the attic. I don’t do ladders. Period. Fear. of. falling.

      Happy Thanksgiving!

      November 25th, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    27. Nett says:

      In my 39.5 years of experience, I have found the same to be true. I find your percentages to be almost exact. To add to the list: If you send a child to school, then find a stash of empty Halloween candy wrappers as you’re making their bed, there is a 98.333% chance you will receive a call from the school nurse telling you that said child has a tummy ache and wants to come home.

      November 25th, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    28. Laura J. says:

      In my own studies I have found that I have a 99.9% chance of grabbing the canola oil/shampoo/liquid hand soap/salad dressing/motor oil bottle that has leaked and has nasty gooey-ness running down its side, requiring me to leave my cart in the aisle to go wash my hands in the restroom that is located at the OPPOSITE side of the store at least 98.4% of the time.

      * * * *
      I recently grabbed the one carton of rice milk from a top shelf of the refrigerator case (a good six inches over my head) which had a leaking lid. I had a rice milk shower from head to toe right there in Walmart. Cold rice milk in the bra is not as fun as it sounds. Luckily that has only happened once. ~ AM

      November 25th, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    29. Andrea Reynolds says:

      Batteries in toys that drive you nuts last 370% longer than the ones in your digital camera.

      November 25th, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    30. Christine says:

      There is a 100% chance that your older kids will feed the baby every food in the world that will stain clothes when the baby is dressed in his most expensive new outfit and 0% if the baby is in a ripped up hand me down outfit.

      November 25th, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    31. Kathy says:

      I use Sauve liquid rollon deodorant and never have problems with it coming off on my clothes + it is cheap and effective. Loved this post and it is so true. How about the only way to find lost earrings on the carpeted floor is to eventually give up the search until the vacuum finds it and spits out only part of it.

      November 25th, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    32. Abby says:

      Yep, our youngest has a big fat bruise on her forhead in the pictures we took Saturday! Best I could do since the photographer was from out of town and did a location shot in our yard!

      November 25th, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    33. Refrigerator Art blogger says:

      When you take a sick child to the doctor, there’s a 90 percent chance he/she will miraculously recover while sitting in the waiting room.

      November 25th, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    34. Melissa says:

      If I am driving somewhere and printed the directions, chances are 82% that I’ll remember while I’m on the freeway that the directions are in my purse, in the back seat. Just past the spot where I can reach them without craning all the way around and removing my seat belt. Oops.

      November 25th, 2008 at 3:27 pm

    35. zoom says:

      There is a 98% chance that before any planned family photo a child will find a hidden pair of scissors and butcher their hair into a freakish hack job.

      November 25th, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    36. Jon D (Graco) says:

      In doing similar research affecting the male of the species, I’ve noted a 97% probability that water from the men’s room faucet will splash indiscriminately on the front your pants if those pants are tan in color. The likelihood of this happening prior to any sort of public speaking engagement increases exponentially.

      Thanks for the laugh

      November 25th, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    37. AZ Dog Mom says:

      In my own research I can validate your statistics about coffee on the shirt and earrings down the drain. However, it should be noted the same statistics for the coffee on the shirt can also be applied to marinara sauce. And the statistics for earrings down the drain can be applied to contact lenses. However, that increases to 98.6% if you putting the contacts in either a public place or some other location where you do not have access to an extra pair no do you have your glasses with.

      If you take your dog into a pet-friendly business, the chances of them doing them their business (even though they just did it outside in the parking lot) is about 93%. This chance increases to 95% if the “clean up station” is out of supplies, or if you are in a location where the mess is going to be a bit of an inconvenience (such as the check out line during a busy time). Same applies for taking them to visit someone else’s house.

      November 25th, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    38. Andrea Reynolds says:

      Why is it that there is a 99% chance that the pet with the opposite color fur to whatever you’re wearing is the one that wants to be the most affectionate as you walk out the door?

      November 25th, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    39. BlapherMJ says:

      These are so true!
      If you get a chance, stop by today’s post on our blaph for more “sad but true” statements! 🙂

      November 25th, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    40. Suzanne says:

      So, so true!!! My mother swore her cell phone was stolen by a busboy at Red Lobster, reported it as stolen, had it shut off and bought a replacement. I found it three months later lodged between her car seat the console. 😀

      November 25th, 2008 at 5:55 pm

    41. Iota says:

      If you drop a piece of buttered toast, the chances that it will land butter side down are 50% (not really, just kidding).

      * * *

      However, if it has jelly on it and you are standing on a light colored rug, it will land face down 90% of the time. If it has grape jelly on it and you are standing on a light colored rug and wearing white pants, the jelly side will slide down the entire length of your pants and then land face down, also 98% of the time. This is empirical data from my own study on jelly, gravity and statitsics. ~ AM

      November 25th, 2008 at 6:30 pm

    42. Janis says:

      There is 90% chance that if you spend two frustrating weeks sewing an elaborate costume for your daughter’s first school Halloween party that she will throw up before school starts the day of the party. There is an 100% chance that you and everyone else in the family will throw up in the following days.

      There is an 85% chance that if your child needs to use your printer to complete an assignment due the very next day it will suddenly stop working. Which is why I advocate, within reason, owning two of certain items. Can openers come to mind. (I would not be adverse to an extra house filled with everything I needed should something go on the blink.)

      There is a 90% chance that the very gross thing that you did not want your child to pick up will be picked up by the child. Or that a diaper will need to be changed, a bottom wiped the very minute you just washed your hands to start dinner.

      Ha.It never ends. Oh, and I always get my purse strap caught on the door handle.

      November 25th, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    43. Sheila at Dodging Raindrops says:

      Last year my youngest got a black eye right before the day of Christmas photos. You can see the original photo on my blog. Our photographer used Photoshop to do miracles. This year he cut a big chunk out of hair. We didn’t do the Photoshop this year. We’re keeping it real!

      November 25th, 2008 at 9:00 pm

    44. Rivkeleh says:

      I once worked for an organization that gave text pagers to its managers (yes, I’m that old), and when I was promoted, they gave me a pager roughly the size of paperback book, a holster to attach it to my belt, and a pat on the fanny to go forth and be constantly available to them. I went to the ladies’ room that afternoon, and as I reached to unbuckle my belt, I bumped the bottom of the pager, it flew up into the air, hovered for a brief shining moment, and then threw itself forcefully into the toilet.

      I called the guy who had delivered my pager. I didn’t even say what had happened. “Yeah, I have another one right here.” “How did you know I needed one?”

      Turns out there’s a 100% chance that if you’re given a new piece of electronics that affixes at waist level, you will accidentally drop it in the toilet in the first 24 hours. Enough so that they simply always buy two at this place, and have the second on hand for the moment when they hear the flush and then the phone ring.

      * * * * *

      “…it flew up into the air, hovered for a brief shining moment, and then threw itself forcefully into the toilet”

      Oh goodness me, when I got this part I laughed right out loud! The imagery is perfect! Thanks for the laugh! ~AM

      November 25th, 2008 at 9:21 pm

    45. Minnesotamom says:

      You’ve really taken these studies seriously! Thanks for the report. I will feel 14% less bad the next time one of these things happens to me.

      November 25th, 2008 at 9:26 pm

    46. feefifoto says:

      The odds of spilling something ugly and permanent on a piece of white clothing increase exponentially in relation to how expensive the item was to begin with and how much it costs to clean it. Therefore, you’ll spill nothing on an old white tee shirt, but white silk pants — fugeddaboudit.

      November 25th, 2008 at 10:51 pm

    47. Laura J. says:

      I came back to read more comments and the one about the pager falling in the toilet reminded me of something funny that happened to a good friend a couple of years ago – she wears glasses and one of the lenses had come loose. She was very busy that particular summer and was having difficulty getting time to go by and have it repaired. The lens would stay in the frame pretty well – it just popped out every once in a while.

      Of course, it chose the exact moment the automatic flush on the toilet in the women’s restroom at the local college flushed to decide to pop out … and away it went ….

      November 26th, 2008 at 12:26 am

    48. Steffj89 says:

      *rolling on the floor* OMG I soooo needed to read this today. Chances that you put only one of your younger childs shirt in the wash with your favorite maternity tops and somehow the whole load will be ruined by a permanent marker, melted crayon, bubblegum, or other thing that should never be in the sleeves of a 4 y/.o ‘s shirt 2000%. Ask me how i know….5 cute maternity shirts with permanent dayglo blue marker stains….oh yeah and chances that this happens in like the 8th month when the thought of spending more $$ on maternity shirts makes you ill…the calculations are astronomical.

      as for the family pictures thing…that percentage increases exponentially as you add children…there is generally at least once scratched face, cut up to there hair, or black eye every last time.
      steff

      November 26th, 2008 at 7:03 am

    49. ruth ann says:

      If your three year old fills the toilet with Kleenex while you’re making dinner and you decide to continue making dinner and fish the Kleenex out later – there is a 98.2% chance that someone will come along and flush the toilet thereby flooding the bathroom.

      But at least the dinner won’t be burned. You’ll be able to settle everyone at the table for dinner while you cleanup the flood.

      November 26th, 2008 at 11:02 am

    50. Cheryl-Leigh says:

      I have been so sad not being able to open
      this website for several weeks. What
      happened? I was surprised as to how attached I was to this daily musings on being an antique mommy. As the antique
      mom (55) of an 8 year old daughter, I so
      love this column! My older two are 26
      and 23 and this last one is such a joy to
      raise!!

      December 9th, 2008 at 10:43 am

    51. Jenni says:

      This post CRACKS me up! The “update” is so very, very true, it’s almost scary.

      I can only add that the chances of your child barfing in the night increase 100 fold if the sheets have just been washed. And if said child has eaten something like chili? The chances go straight through the roof.

      December 9th, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    52. Shannon says:

      In my house the chances of a child peeing the bed increase to 100% the night after the sheets are washed.

      As I spent 10 minutes fishing my neighbor’s keys from the floorboard of my car yesterday, ending up climbing into the back – over my 2 year old daughter in her car seat and hitting her in the head with my rear end – only to get my hand stuck in the seat track and have her ask me 50 times “What you DOIN, Mommy?” as I tried to extricate my fingers… I really appreciate this post 🙂

      * * * *

      Oh the imagery! Made me laugh. Motherhood is an exercise in humility! ~ AM

      December 9th, 2008 at 10:50 pm

    53. Lynn says:

      Did you want to hear a big amen? AMEN! I believe I have lived several of these.

      December 10th, 2008 at 9:32 am

    54. Dianne says:

      If you have tile floor in the kitchen, pergo in the living & dining room (read: hard surfaces, easier to clean), and the cat needs to ralph up food eaten too quickly, there is a 99.7% chance that said cat will RUN to the nearest area rug to deposit the undigested food. Right before you read about this scientific research over here. 😀

      December 11th, 2008 at 8:10 pm

    55. LORI says:

      I LOVE YOUR STATISTICS! DID YOU KNOW THAT 67% OF ALL STATISTICS ARE MADE UP ON THE SPOT?!

      December 13th, 2008 at 2:42 am

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