Pen to Paper: 5 tall tales regarding coincidence

1. The Pale Blue Dot

In high school astronomy, I learned that the Earth is perfectly situated in the universe for the creation of life. It’s situated in a surprisingly small temperature belt in our solar system capable of sustaining liquid water, a requirement for life, and especially my life. I’m thirsty all the time. Mercury and Venus are too scorching for my taste.

Our home planet also has a stable rotation and orbit. It mostly circumnavigates the sun in a circular, rather than ovular path. We don’t drift too close to our heat source and burn alive, and our oceans don’t freeze over because we’re never one percent further away from the sun than we normally are. Our days also remain constant, and they last a perfect amount of time. I don’t want four hour days, or 128 hour ones, and I certainly don’t want one day to last four hours and the next day to last 128. Thank the moon for that, and thank the moon for our tides. If we had no moon, there might not be the biodiversity on earth that there is now. I like our moon, Mars’s moons are terrible. Jupiter has too many and Pluto doesn’t even have any. 

We have generated electricity from lightning storms, consistent gravity, a magnetic field, the color green, stable sea levels, and rock cycles, all integral to our development. No other discovered planets or moons enjoy these luxuries we have. Our planet is perfectly engineered for life, and it’s only through luck that it’s been able to maintain this stability long enough for humans to evolve into a being that can appreciate this luck.

2: The Blue Light

When I was in my second year of college, a particular room in a dormitory named Roberts Hall had a metallic blue light, the only one at the college. It was the kind of light you’d plug into the wall and hang on your ceiling, so that your entire room shined like a tropical ocean on a scorching summer day. Walking to the dormitory, you could look up to the third floor, two rooms to the right of the flag pole, and see the blue light emanating from the room. 

The resident from that year was a senior, and he eventually graduated, unplugged his light, and moved away. The next year, I think a new senior who had returned from a year abroad took up residence in that same room. On the second week of school, I walked to Roberts, looked two rooms to the right of the flagpole, and saw blue blasting through the room’s clouded windowpanes. It was the only blue light at school that year. 

3. “Mr. Blue Sky”

When I was commuting to work one morning and listening to the radio, I heard the iconic, driving, piano introduction of “Mr. Blue Sky” by the Electric Light Orchestra emanate from my speakers. I hadn’t heard it for at least 5 or 6 years, and I remembered it was one of my favorite songs, so I turned it up and sang along. It was nice to hear a song that had been buried in my memory long ago.

After work, I went to the pub with Reggie.  It was 2:30, and we were the only ones in our favorite bar.  We knew the bartender, and he let Reggie DJ out of the staticky, muffled, and obviously blown out Bose’s. The first song he played began with the monotonous, unchanging first few bars of “Mr. Blue Sky.”  “Throwback time,” said Reggie. 

That night, I took my girlfriend and her two friends out to a club, since it was Friday and that’s what I did back then. We had been in the same spot for almost two hours, and I wanted to move on.  “Wait, let’s just dance to one more song,” said my girlfriend.  I said OK, and the song that came next was accompanied by high-pitched squeals from the women in the club.  It was the annoying, unoriginal introduction of “Mr. Blue Sky.”

4. The Blue Ticket

Every Tuesday, Pat and I would visit 7-11 and buy a “Mega Lotto” ticket along with our daily coffee’s and SlimJim’s. On the way, we’d pass a billboard that said “You Could Win ___ Dollars Playing Mega Lotto this week! Sometimes the prize was $50 million, and, sometimes it was $700 million depending on how many schmucks bought the $20 ticket and furiously scratched their tickets with a rusted and worn down penny from the “leave a penny, take a penny,” tray, only to find out they had wasted another Andrew Jackson. 

One Tuesday, we took Reggie with us because he was complaining about how hungry he was. He saw us buying the tickets, and crucified us, saying, “do you know the odds of winning the lottery, it’s one in, like, 175 million!  It’s a scam!  You boys are going to spend your whole lives giving away $20 every week, and you’ll have spent the money you could have saved long-term.  If you were smart and invested this cash, you could eventually buy what you are planning to buy if you ever do win the Mega Lotto!”

Pat said, “someone wins every week, Reg,” and he did that day, off the black number “11 27 98 75 6 348 00” that was printed on his blue ticket. It was a randomly generated number.

5. The Blue Dress

I met my wife in a hotel bar. I know, it’s very classy. Another classy thing I did was bump into her and spill my scotch and soda onto her blue sequined dress. I apologized to her and paid for her dry cleaning. Her name was Bronlyn, and she was in New York for a friend’s wedding. I was in New York for business. 

She called the hotel laundry service for emergency dry cleaning, and I gave the receptionist my card information. After she changed, she returned to the hotel bar and I insisted on buying her a drink. She ordered a Moscow Mule, a drink I hadn’t tasted in probably a decade.  I found out she was recently dumped,  and therefore depressed to be going to a wedding. “Why did my friends decide to get married right now?  She said.  “They’ve been dating since college, what are the odds they get engaged right before Paul breaks up with me?”

We drank together until closing time that night, and, now, she’s my wife and we have three children.  It was my second trip to New York, and her first time.  There are 270 hotels with at least 50 rooms in New York City.