Sunday, February 6, 2011

Happenstance, Coincidence, . . . ?

JANUSFILES2 . . . ENTRY #0154 . . . OPEN:

"Your happiness is intertwined with your outlook on life."

This makes the second time that I have discovered the same fortune twice in a batch of fortune cookies that I have bought. Granted, this isn't going to happen to most people. Most people probably aren't going to be picking up fortune cookies in bulk. Or if they are, the odds are more likely that they will probably be doing it for a party, and that they will not be opening all the cookies by themselves.

The last time this happened to me, I decided that the odds on something like this happening were along the lines of "astronomical." I also said that getting more specific would take someone like Charlie Eppes of the TV series Numb3rs to do the actual math.

Obviously, I need to redefine my idea of astronomical odds.

At the moment, I'm thinking of Ian Fleming's Goldfinger, and a line from the titular character: "Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action." I've seen a number of variations on this theme; one that might fit this instance more accurately is, "Once is an event, twice is circumstance, three times is a pattern."

It didn't surprise me the first time I encountered a fortune for the second time. I suspect that this sort of thing happens more often than people realize. I'm just noticing it because I hang on to my fortunes. Getting two at the same time was surprising -- and having it happen twice was even more so. Now, I find myself wondering how long it might be before it happens again.

I suppose the answer to that question depends on how often I buy a batch of fortunes.

Like the other duplicates, this pair had different sets of lucky numbers. But this particular company printed two sets of numbers on the back. One was "Daily Numbers," which was numbers for Pick 3, while the other set was the usual set of six numbers. Here's the numbers listed on one fortune:

Daily Numbers: 8 5 5
Lotto: 25 18 38 32 23 37

And here are the numbers from the other fortune:

Daily Numbers: 0 3 4
Lotto: 21 31 08 05 46 12

JANUSFILES2 . . . ENTRY #0154 . . . CLOSE

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