It’s a trope– the million to one chance. We use it to describe unlikely scenarios, that probably are 100 to 1, or 1000 to 1 possibilities. I’m sure there are statisticians whose teeth are set on edge by these phrases, especially the more exaggerated of them.
A million to one.
Last week I lost a new earring while walking to the local movie theater. It’s a 2 mile walk, so I didn’t even think about trying to recover it. I had no idea where along the walk I lost it, or even if I’d been wearing it when I left the house. In fact, earlier in the day I’d been downtown (that’s downtown Chicago), and wasn’t entirely sure I’d been wearing it when I got back in the car.
After we got home I realized it was gone, and went to bed in a teary snit. The next morning I found out my darling husband had retraced the entire 4 mile round trip at midnight, with a flashlight, trying to find it.
And still I thought–not even going to try, it’s completely ridiculous.
But the next day I thought about that darling man, walking through the not-all-that-safe neighborhood in the middle of the night, looking for my earring. So I retraced the route.
Million to one.