Lucky

I rarely buy raffle tickets. This is not a moral or ethical position. I simply do not want to risk winning. I facilitate learning in statistics. Unlike those who play the lottery or gamble in Las Vegas, I do not only do not believe I am lucky, I do not want to be lucky. Lucky means that a rare and unusual event has occurred. An event in the tail of a distribution.

I do not want to be in the tail of the distribution. I want to be safely in the middle of the distribution. Live a life of average length with the average assortment of the usual issues of aging. Average is good, average is safe. Lucky is in the tail of the distribution. Lucky is rare. Rare is being struck by lightning. You have to be lucky to be hit by lightning. Or to come down with a rare, untreatable condition that baffles doctors. Or to slide off the road at the one small place where there happens to be a cliff.

Engaging in raffles is risking being lucky, is asking to be lucky. I fear lucky.

I needed a phone card to reload my cell phone, and with the phone card came two raffle tickets, no choice. The raffle stipulated that one must be present to win. I could have not gone to the raffle, but I had to find out if I was still average. If I was still not lucky. Which is good.

The draw, was, however, rather under-attended. Somewhat severely. There were about eight ticket holders at the draw.

Being unlucky was suddenly going to be far less likely. I was asked to pull the first ticket. There were many tickets in the box, I knew the afternoon would be long.

Everyone, including children on the beach eventually had a chance to draw. The list of names drawn included friends and even family members of those present on the beach. A roaring good time was had by the few on the beach as comments such as, "Let me collect that for her!" was followed by laughter. I also knew I faced a risk of winning.

Eventually the group gathered abandoned finding new people to draw and one person kept drawing tickets and calling names. I was scared my name would eventually come up. Then a ticket was drawn the numbers were called off - the procedure being used for the few tickets that had no name on them. For a brief moment there was no reaction. Then one of the few on the beach let out a yelp - she had the ticket!
 

Relief washed over me. I was still not lucky. Despite the odds, I had escaped luckiness - whatever that might be. I was safely average. Having faith in probability is an odd religion to be sure, but then the universe runs on probability - quantum theory is built on probability after all.
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