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Tempting Fate

January 26th, 2005 · Posted by Skuds in Life · No Comments · Life

In the past I have bought lottery tickets, but always just asked for a ‘lucky dip’ – although I would dispute the definition of “lucky” because I have never won anything with it. Just recently I picked some numbers and started playing the same ones every week. As I have the same numbers I knocked up a quick spreadsheet so I could bung in the winning numbers and it would tell me how well I had done.

Today I did not bother buying a ticket, and this evening I had to decide whether to check whether my numbers would have won – not something you can check if you are just doing lucky dips. Statistically my numbers were as likely to match the official ones as they are any other week, but I knew I was against the forces of narrative, which can be more potent than logic and statistics. How would I feel if it turned out that by not bothering to buy a ticket I had lost out on a few thousand pounds? Or a few million? If that happened, would I tell the wife?

In the end I found that there is a force even more powerful than narrative: anti-climax. My chosen numbers performed as poorly as they do when my money is riding on them.


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