The Washington Post

Things likelier than the Powerball jackpot

You too can be a winner! (David Goldman/Associated Press)

This is not for the usual practical reasons that people do not wish to win the Powerball jackpot — inevitable ruin of life, reckless purchases, massive tax burden, disintegration of family life.

No, I worry about opening the improbability floodgates. The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are so minuscule that, if that happens, who knows what things might start occurring!

Once you’ve done something as gallopingly unlikely as winning the Powerball jackpot, being mauled by a bear looks easy! (My enthusiasm for the possibility of winning the Powerball jackpot is matched only by my firm grasp of the laws of probability.)

Consider — here are a few things likelier than winning the Powerball:

— Being abducted by Zeus (pretty likely actually)

— Successfully navigating an asteroid field (3720 to 1)

— “Two and a Half Men” ever going off the air

— Americans ever approving of Congress

— Being eaten by a shark

— Being mauled by a bear

— Finding true love

— Finding true love in your support group for victims of bear maulings

— Finding true love with a shark

— Something expected happens at the Large Hadron Collider

— A bipartisan budget resolution that pleases everyone

— Winning a bet against Nate Silver

— Being John Malkovich

— Mayan Apocalypse

— Transforming nuclear missiles into a sperm whale and a bowl of petunias

— Appearing in a movie that does not somehow connect to Kevin Bacon

— Winning a massive lottery jackpot that does not wreck your life in some way

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day. She is the author of "A Field Guide to Awkward Silences".
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