Friday, March 18, 2011

The things that haven't happened to us and the Boots Cooper story

Good Morning Folks,

Busy morning, much of it actually business related, so sorry for not posting more and taking care of business.

I appreciate the feedback from all of y'all, both who have advised me to pack up and head for the hills and those who have said "cool, we're here too and doing the math". It's all about what keeps your personal/family stress minimized. I do think that the popularity of Freakonomics has helped here--any book which points out that guns don't typically kill children in the US (very rare) where swimming pools do (relatively common) gets people grounded.

Here are the things that have not happened:

1) We have not been in a car wreck.
2) No one has died from an allergic reaction from food.
3) None of us have slipped in the bathroom and hurt ourselves, fallen down the stairs, or poked our collectives eyes out with pencils or scissors.

None of those relatively high probability events have happened.
Excerpted from Molly Ivins quoting John Henry Faulk
Johnny used to tell a story about when he was a Texas Ranger, a captain in fact. He was seven at the time. His friend Boots Cooper, who was six, was sheriff, and the two of them used to do a lot of heavy law enforcement out behind the Faulk place in south Austin. One day Johnny's mama, having two such fine officers on the place, asked them to go down to the hen house and rout out the chicken snake that had been doing some damage there.Johnny and Boots loped down to the hen house on their trusty brooms (which they tethered outside) and commenced to search for the snake. They went all through the nests on the bottom shelf of the hen house and couldn't find it, so the both of them stood on tippy-toes to look on the top shelf. I myself have never been nose-to-nose with a chicken snake, but I always took Johnny's word for it that it will just scare the living shit out of you. Scared those boys so bad that they both tried to exit the hen house at the same time, doing considerable damage to both themselves and the door.Johnny's mama, Miz Faulk, was a kindly lady, but watching all this, it struck her funny. She was still laughin' when the captain and the sheriff trailed back up to the front porch. "Boys, boys, " said Miz Faulk, "what is wrong with you? You know perfectly well a chicken snake cannot hurt you."That's when Boots Cooper made his semi-immortal observation. "Yes ma'am," he said, "but there's some things'll scare you so bad, you hurt yourself.
So, that's our plan. We will continue to not hurt ourselves. If the family takes a trip to the grandparents, well, we do that a couple of times a year. We accept that risk. And if it helps the family sleep better, that's probably worth a few positive probability points in our favor.

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