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The odds are in your favor

Opinion: Columns

July 11th, 2017 4:14 PM

By John Hubbuch

I'm very afraid. 

As a TV viewer and internet surfer, it has become clear to me that I will be lucky to survive until Christmas. No place is safe. ISIS is everywhere. Seas are rising. Asteroids are hurtling toward us. Sharks, snakes, pit bulls, airline passengers denied boarding are lurking. Fires, explosions, hurricanes, wildfires, floods and epidemics are nature's revenge. Then there's the E's — Ebola, Ecoli and Evite from the annoying co-worker. And don't forget sinkholes. They can swallow you up without warning. Gone without a trace.

But I am tired of sheltering in the fetal position. I have found some comfort in math and risk management.

Some numbers: Chances from dying from a lightning strike? 1 in 162,000. From a dog attack? 1 in 112,400. From a cataclysmic storm? 1 in 66,000. From hornets, wasps and bees? 1 in 64,000. Electrocution? 1 in 15,000. Guns? 1 in 7,00. Fire? 1 in 5,000. Drowning? 1 in 1,200. Motorcycle? 1 in 1,000. Fall? 1 in 127. Car crash? 1 in 114? Suicide? 1 in 95. Respiratory disease? 1 in 28. 

Heart disease and cancer? 1 in 7. 

These numbers made me feel better. And best of all, the average American has a 1.625 millionth of chance of being attacked by a shark in any given year. Of being killed, even lower. Even lower in Lake Michigan.

Then there's risk management. There are things you can avoid that will reduce your chances of death:

Do not jump into a dark pool of water at night in an alligator habitat.

Do not pick up poisonous reptiles.

Do not play Russian Roulette, even if gun is thought to be unloaded.

Do not become addicted to drugs.

Do not see how close you can get to the edge of a precipice.

Do not drink alcohol and take a dare from your buddy.

Do not jump over the wall to pet zoo animals.

Do not hike in the desert without a map.

Never eat anything bigger than your head.

Avoid Texas. Except for Austin.

The general rule: Before any activity, ask yourself: What's the worst thing that could happen?

Finally, there is a bunch of things you really can't do much about — North Korea, asteroids, global warming, terrorism, Trump, et al. Soooo ... stop worrying about them. 

C'est la vie.

Oh, one more thing: Stop following the news. A little ignorance just might make you a little more blissful.