Sunday, May 1, 2016

No Chance in Hell

A story of Statistics, Fine Bourbon, and Divine Intervention

    This blog has four characters:

  • David Nickum, E.D. 
  • Colorado Trout Unlimited. 
    • Ken Neubecker,
    •  A.D. American Rivers.
    • Paula Fothergill, 
    • Casting for Recovery
    •  Instructor & Volunteer

  • The Pope

     David lured me to the table displaying 10 bottles of Boathouse Colorado Bourbon and whispered under his breath, "John, if you buy now, you'll have a one in one chance of winning the Scott 9 weight fly rod."
    I demurred. Too good to be true. $75 for a great tasting bottle of local bourbon and a fly rod. There must be a catch.
    Ten minutes later I wandered by again.
   "John, now you have one chance in five at the bourbon and fly rod," David said. Still, not bad odds. I decided to think about it and sampled another tumbler of the bourbon. It really was good.
    As the bourbon warmed my mid-section and clouded my mind with images of tarpon leaping, it became crystal clear that this was a good deal.I turned over my credit card to David who said, "OK, John, you're now at one chance in seven, but still that's pretty good odds."
    I had a good feeling about this as I checked my silent auction bids for a trip on the Fraser with Kirk Kancke, a pair of Smith Sunglasses, and an original watercolor of Chimney Rock. I passed on my optimism to Ken Neubecker.
    "I bought a bottle also," he said. "But I put Paula's name on it. She wins everything."
Unlikely, I thought. Random chance is random chance.
The tension built as David declared the silent auction closed and he opened bottle #8 for more sampling. I can only guess the liquor cabinet where bottles 9 and 10 were going. A hush grew over the nervous crowd of Colorado Trout Unlimited Chapter leaders as they waited for the drawing of the winner of the $795 Scott Fly Rod.
     A young fly caster from the CTU Youth Camp stuck his hand into the antique rattan creel and pulled out .....
"Paula Fothergill!!"
    Wait a minute, wait a minute. She always wins.
     I rushed over to Ken. "OK Ken. Something must be done. I'm calling the Pope. This is just not right." Paula, who was standing next to Ken, gave me that patented sly smile of hers and said, "Well it probably won't help. One time when I was in Argentina fishing and got really ill, my friend convinced me to come down to dinner and I was seated next to the Archbishop of Argentina. He's in Rome now and we really don't keep in close touch."

    The moral of this story is that if Paula is in the room and you are going to enter the drawing, you better make a deal with her or you chances are no chance in hell.