Saturday, June 14, 2014

What are the odds of finding three $20 bills in two days?

This story doesn't sound believable.  But it's true.  Yesterday while walking to work I picked up a $20 bill on the edge of a puddle on the street.  The rest of the way there I tried to remember a time when I'd found a twenty before.  I couldn't think of one specifically, but I feel like it may have happened 2-3 times previously in my life.  I got to work and began setting up the bar, and while laying the mats down on the floor I came across another $20 bill.

I was shocked.  People had been talking about the fact that it was Friday the 13th and a full moon put together, and I wondered if I was having some sort of reverse good luck thing going on.

This morning I was at South Station buying a ticket to Woods Hole on the way to the Vineyard, and there on the ground in front of me at the counter was yet another twenty.  At this point I became convinced the only reasonable explanation was that Elaine Benes was following me around throwing Jerry's money out the window:





I've been alive for 13,000 some odd days.  I'll subtract 1,000 of them for me being too young to find money on the ground.  If it'd happened to me three times before, that puts the frequency at roughly once every 4000 days.  Using that number, by my calculations the chances of finding three $20s in two days should be in the neighborhood of 1 in (4000^3) / 2, which is 1 in 32 billion.

And yes, I'm 100% certain that it wasn't me dropping the same bill and picking it up again.

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