If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is there will the squirrels nesting in it jump out scamper away as it tumbles? Odds are yes. Will those same squirrels have time collect the nuts they have been packing up that tree trunk for months, stuffed in their little squirrel cheeks? Odds are no. So what are the odds of these two things happening? I say 50/50.
I am of a 50/50 mentality. Either something will or it won’t happen. This drives my other half bonkers. But if you really give credence to any question don’t you believe the odds will be 50/50? The world does have various shades of gray, but at the end of the line, every calculation done, all predictors figured, angles and history accounted for, it still all comes down to the proverbial flip of a coin. Heads or tails. Yes or no. It will or it won’t, aka; 50/50.
One evening on the ride home from work we stopped to throw trash into the garbage pit that was used for years and years by all the locals. Occasionally somebody would light it on fire, it would smolder for a few days, getting rid of the smell and flies, even the crows didn’t stop to feast. The fire would run out of fuel and die down. Then the pit would start to fill up, somebody would light it on fire and the circle would continue. Occasionally the County crew would lengthen the pit, or mush around the burnt offerings. This system worked, for a long, long time and most residents thought was fine. Of course, this was years ago, before rules and regulations were set in place to save us from all the badness of the garbage pit. And the dangers of bringing home more things from the dump than you took to the dump! As per usual I have veered off the path…
On this particular night — (Oh yes, the pit was open 24/7 because it was, well, just a pit!) Again, on this particular night we noticed that the north end of the pit was newly scraped at by a dozer. A new pile of dirt was piled at least 25 feet high and on the north end, just below the summit there was perched a boulder. A big boulder. Just sitting there, looking so precarious. We were east side pit dumpers, most dumpers were west side pit dumpers. But since you could see more of what was dumped if you dumped on the east side, and you know who was usually driving we were on the east side of the pit. East side dumping meant driving around the pit and that is how we found ourselves parked by the mound of dirt with the boulder perched on top.
We had some pent up job/life frustrations that evening. You know those days. When I get in that mood I have a saying about ripping off someone’s lips if I could. I bet (okay it’s 50/50) that all of us have had at least one of these lip ripping days. Feeling like that this particular night we decided; if we could climb that mound of dirt and roll that boulder off we would feel better. Egging each other on we hopped out of the truck and scurried up that mound. (Our hop and scurry has since left the building!) Making it to the top we positioned ourselves to get the utmost leverage, sitting behind what, at that closer angle, was a much larger sized rock. From below it looked doable, but sitting behind it starting to push with our legs it suddenly became the Rock of Gibraltar. Pushing, grunting, and best of all laughing away our frustrations. The newly excavated ground was still moist and clung to our back sides, shoes, hands and elbows. We didn’t take notice or care. We just kept pushing. All this to just see that boulder go rolling end over tea kettle down the side of that pile of dirt. Suddenly he jumps up and says to stop. He looks down the mound and what he sees makes him come back to grown-up land. There below us, right in the path of the boulder was our pick up.
Now here is where that 50/50 proposition comes into play. If I was a betting woman, after the day we had, I would have bet that boulder would have rolled down and demolished the truck. But since I lost $5 on a World Series bet in the 70’s I now just go with the 50/50 scenario. Either the rock would or wouldn’t hit. Of course we would have had to get it off the hillside first!
Trina Machacek lives in Eureka. Her book ITY BITS can be found on Kindle. Share your thoughts and opinions with her at firstname.lastname@example.org.