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Local lifestyle columnists

Stunning odds indicate how you may die

By From page A2 | April 27, 2014

You are more likely to die from a bee sting than to win a huge Mega Millions jackpot.

Happy Sunday! May the odds be ever in your favor.

According to a study by Tulane University (where all the roads have one lane going in each direction. Because it’s a two-lane university, you see), there was a 1-in-259 million chance to win the $600 million-plus Mega Millions jackpot in December, while the odds of dying from a bee sting were 1-in-6.1 million. It’s not even close.

But consider this: If my high school math is correct (no guarantee), the odds of winning the jackpot but dying from a bee sting before you get the money, is 1-in-1.579 quadrillion.

So relax. It’s probably not happening.

Odds fascinate me – such as the reported odds of being killed by an asteroid or a comet being 1-in-250,000. That’s also from Tulane University, but it makes no sense – based on that, nearly two people a year in Solano County die from space matter. I’ve never heard of it happening to anyone in our county.

Those odds probably presume that at some point there will be a massive death toll from a comet striking Earth, but 1-in-250,000? Being killed by a comet is 12 times more likely than death from a lightning strike? Crazy. Statistics can be that way.

If you want my attention, tell me “here’s an interesting statistic” . . . but only if it’s truly an interesting statistic. Don’t say that and then inform me that the median age for a Solano County resident is 36.9 years or that the national debt is $17 trillion. Sure, those are true, but not particularly interesting.

But death statistics? Fascinating.

Because in the end, we all buy the farm. According to one document I saw, 100 out of 100 of us will die.

Seriously. My favorite odds are all about how you go. Did you know, for instance, that you have a 1-in-3,649 chance to die after choking from inhaling and digesting food, according to the National Safety Council? Those odds go up if you don’t chew.

Of course, the most likely way an American will die is from heart disease or cancer – a 1-in-7 chance. The chances are 1-in-356 that you’ll be killed by a firearm and 1-in-112 that you’ll be killed in a car wreck.

Those are kind of interesting, but not as interesting as some of the other deaths.

Consider this: You’re more likely to die by legal execution than after being being bitten by a dog. So don’t worry so much about that neighbor’s dog getting loose and killing you as doing something after being bitten that leads to a capital case against you.

Lefties beware: The odds of being killed using a right-handed product while left-handed is 1-in-7 million, which is more likely than being killed by a shark (1-in-11.5 million).

Speaking of odds, consider these:

  • You have a 1-in-115,000 chance of having to go to the hospital due to a pogo stick accident.
  • You have a 1-in-465 chance of having your identity stolen.
  • You have a 1-in-7 shot of believing your tattoo was a mistake.
  • You have a 1-in-10,000 chance to be injured by a toilet this year.

There’s more – but the odds are I’ll stop now, since I’m limited by space. So here is your takeaway: You are more likely – by almost two times – to go to the hospital for a pogo stick accident than you are to die from a comet or asteroid.

So stop worrying about space junk and start wearing a helmet and wrist guards while you’re pogoing in the driveway.

Again, you’re welcome. And again, may the odds be ever in your favor.

The odds are you recognize that last sentence if you’re a 15-year-old girl who has watched  the “Hunger Games” movies.

Reach Brad Stanhope at 427-6958 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bradstanhope.

Brad Stanhope

Brad Stanhope

Brad Stanhope is a former Daily Republic editor. He began his career at the DR in the last millennium. He spent 24 years as a sports editor, associate editor and news editor before leaving the Daily Republic in 2014. Brad lives in Suisun City with his wife, Mrs. Brad, and two sons. He enjoys cheese.

Discussion | 9 comments

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  • BaseballmomApril 27, 2014 - 7:21 am

    Yup... I've always preferred the term "postponed death" to "saved lives" - cause we are ALL going to bite the dust one day.... And about that toilet injury thing... Oh well.... That is for another day....

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  • 2realApril 27, 2014 - 8:28 am

    How about this one, you have a better chance of getting killed in fairfield than u do in compton!!

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  • Mr.RApril 27, 2014 - 8:43 am

    It's interesting, you have a 1 in 112 chance of being killed in a car wreck and 1 in 356 of being killed by a firearm but those on the left want our guns. Why not are cars?

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  • TheoApril 27, 2014 - 8:59 am

    Mr R that is too good!! Hahaha

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  • No NO.... Bad Mr. Brad...April 27, 2014 - 10:24 am

    "May the odd among us, forever be favored" .... The Moral of the Story.... never underestimate the power of a " one off " ?

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  • Odds Of Your Children Being Killed By Their Own Government?April 27, 2014 - 10:38 am

    Google....odds of dying from your own government... or Democide... Doing the math... What are the chances of being killed by your own government? 1 in about 89 ........What are the chances of being killed in a mass shooting? ...... 1 in 144000

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  • I Don't Feel Like Dancin' Today... Bye Ya'llApril 27, 2014 - 10:48 am


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  • L. CoorApril 27, 2014 - 11:19 am

    The odds are: I will learn to skip your stream of conciseness pieces. @Bradstanshope

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  • PaigeNovember 07, 2014 - 8:19 am

    Mr. Stanhope, I thoroughly enjoyed your perspective on this article. You have inspired me to buy a pogo stick...You are the reason I am going to crush my debate case. Have a wonderful day sir.

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