Here at The Last American Vagabond, we talk about an almost endless supply of topics, some of which might raise a few eyebrows. From our eight-part series delving into the mysteries of metaphysics to our ongoing coverage of conspiracy theories, we always have something a little unorthodox for you to read. And as luck would have it, we’re bringing you yet another look at a unique topic that begs the question: “what if?” In this case, we’re begging to know what luck is; is it a very real force in our universe not dictated by numbers? What if luck is a force of nature that’s found in far greater quantities in some people over others?
Other ventures into this particularly tricky subject have proven quite compelling, as luck is dissected in different ways. For example, in NPR’s exploration of the topic, they bring to our attention the everyday luck faced by individuals in the form of two scenarios that drastically change the life of each person involved by no fault of their own. The idea of moral luck is detailed in the article and shows us how a person is assigned blame or praise based on the unlucky or lucky situations they’re placed in. Without getting too in-depth into the finer workings of the topic, like the NPR piece, we’ll be exploring a few particular cases of extreme luck and the implications they might hold. Just remember that, just because something is an extreme case of luck, that doesn’t necessarily make it good luck. If you think you’ve got bad luck, check out our first entry.
Professional United States park ranger by day and aspiring lightning rod throughout life, Roy Sullivan was the man who was struck by lightning seven times and lived to tell the tale. The chances of being struck by lightning this year are reported to be 700,000 to one, and the chances of being hit within your lifetime is an unnerving 3,000 to one. But, according to the Washington Post, the chances of being struck by lightning seven times in your lifetime is 4.15 in 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. With the natural ability to beat the odds like that, it’s shocking that Sullivan never hit it big in the lottery. Whether or not we’re going to chalk this one up as good or bad luck is difficult to determine considering the ranger’s bouts with Mother Nature never resulted in his death.
Bet It All On Black
Seven times is a lot but let’s get into the double digits. On August 18, 1913 at the Monte Carlo casino, one roulette table hit black 26 times. Millions of dollars were lost by patrons as they bet against the strange phenomenon. This led to what is now known as the Monte Carlo or, more commonly, gambler’s fallacy which is a commonly held belief that if something takes place many times in the present that it is less likely to take place in the future. While it is true that roulette has been around for quite some time, the rules among each style of roulette have largely stayed the same. For example, American roulette adds a “00” slot to the table but, instead of raising the odds on a specific color being picked, it only raises the house’s chance of winning. The chances of winning in American roulette if you’re picking a specific number is 1 in 38 compared to the 1 in 37 in European roulette. However, the chances of the ball landing in a black space 26 times in a row is an astronomical 1 in 67,108,863. Imagine being the player to make that gamble!
Although we’ve covered symbolism and neurophenomenology quite extensively, it’s hard to say what sort of effects dying would have on the brain. One Australian man seems to answer the question in his own way as Bill Morgan, a truck driver who was clinically dead for more than 14 minutes after a truck accident rocked his world. Morgan’s family was told it would be better to unplug the man from life support but, luckily, they didn’t as the man awoke after 12 days of being in a coma. A successful recovery clearly wasn’t enough for the trucker as Morgan would then get engaged to his girlfriend and then win a $17,000 car in a scratch-off lottery ticket. When he was asked to recreate the scene in front of a camera crew, he won an additional $170,000 from another ticket. While it’s much more difficult to calculate the odds of this particular string of lucky occurrences, it makes you wonder nonetheless.
Are these astronomical anomalies just a series of incredibly unlikely happenings – all dictated by numbers and calculated into possibilities, or is there more at play here? Are these a couple of cases of modern magick born from workings of the mind, or are they equations to be solved? When we have the answers to those questions, you’ll be sure to see us at our local gas stations reciting the numbers to the next winning power ball.