Behold the Mysteries of the Universe

barry currin, stories of a world gone mad, beaverdamusa.comWe had to go to Nashville on business last week.

Sometimes — okay, almost always — when I take a road trip, I allow myself a snack when I gas up.

As I browsed everything in a cellophane package at a store somewhere along Interstate 24, I couldn’t help but overhear a customer talking to the clerk.

I could tell he had been going on for several minutes before I tuned into the conversation.

He was complaining about all things online-shopping related — Amazon, PayPal, eBay, and the like. He didn’t have one positive thing to say about any of them.

Then, just as I was about to pick beef jerky over cashews, he set his sights on social media. I couldn’t resist moving closer, because I could sense it was about to get good.

He went on and on saying just about what I expected he would say, and then he offered up this nugget:

“I’ll tell you what else,” he said. “I’m done with Facebook. I don’t care if your toe hurts, or if you’ve got gangrene. I don’t want to hear about it.”

Obviously, that killed my beef jerky vibe.

Both clerks agreed with him, and like clockwork, offered their opinions on the matter.

I couldn’t get my mind off of what he said as the day went on for a couple of reasons.

First of all, who with gangrene announces on Facebook they have it? I don’t think that’s something I would do. Then again, I don’t announce where I eat lunch, my every mood or 11,000 before-and-after pictures of me cleaning up the garage.

Oversharing is one thing. Telling the universe on Facebook you have gangrene is another.

Of course, I don’t know if the guy was telling the truth or just being hyperbolic.

Let’s pretend for minute that he was telling the truth.

I did a little research and math, and I learned that 0.01 percent of the US population is treated for gangrene each year.

With this knowledge, we can establish the odds of getting it in the first place are astronomical.

Second, the odds of this guy knowing someone who got it are even more astronomical.

And finally, the odds of him and me being in the same place while he was talking about it are simply incalculable.

I guess I’m being silly, but isn’t the universe an interesting place? If I had gotten stopped at a traffic light right after I left the house, I probably wouldn’t have heard him say that. What would I have seen instead? Maybe the place got robbed after I left. Or, maybe I missed Jimmy Buffett stopping in to play a couple of numbers.

Over the course of two days last week, I saw four traffic accidents. I ran upon two of the four immediately after they happened.

When something like this occurs, I always think about how the slightest difference in my decision making up to that point could’ve caused me to be involved.

I try not to think about things like that too much because if I do, I’ll go nuts.

But I’ll tell you this. The next time I’m on the road, I’m keeping my eyes peeled for Jimmy Buffett. After the experience with the guy at the store, I think my odds are pretty good.

About Barry Currin

Barry tries to be funny and poignant, and he's usually satisfied when he succeeds with one or the other. (Being both is awesome. And sometimes that happens.) Email him:

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