Playing the odds


Let’s get this out in the open. I am not, nor have I ever been a gambler. I can count on one hand the number of times I have purchased a lottery ticket in my lifetime. I consider the lottery voluntary taxation. I choose not to pay that tax.

Many years ago, I boarded the Isle of Capri Casino in Boonville with other members of the Missouri Press Association for entertainment. I was bored to death. Within 10 minutes, I may have lost a total of $5 on a blackjack table. Then I stopped and just watched others gamble their money away.

If gambling is a disease, I can guarantee you; I don’t have it.

My reasons are simple. I know that in the long run, the house always wins.

Some people refuse to wear a seat belt in their car. They are frightened of being trapped in a vehicle that catches fire or is submerged in water during an accident.

 Less than one-half of one percent of all car accidents resulting in injury involves being submerged in water or engulfed in flames. 

If you are in a car accident without wearing a seat belt, your risk of injury and death is much higher.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes that among car accident survivors, unbelted victims stay three to five times longer in the hospital and have medical costs two to seven times higher than victims who wear their seat belt.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “people not wearing a seat belt are 30 times more likely to be ejected from a vehicle during a crash. More than three out of four people who are ejected during a fatal crash die from their injuries.”

I’m not particularly eager to gamble with my life either, so I wear my seat belt.

I choose to play the odds.

Some do not want to get the vaccine for COVID-19 because they are afraid of severe side effects. These include rare allergic reactions to an ingredient in the mRNA vaccines and rare blood clots in young women associated with Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine.

The chances for someone my age of dying from COVID-19, are very, very low. What is lower are severe side effects from the vaccine. According to Yvonne Maldonado, an infectious diseases epidemiologist at Stanford University School of Medicine the handful of side effect cases per every million doses of vaccine are lower “than your chance of getting bit by a shark if you go to the beach, of getting hit by a car if you cross the street, or being killed in an airplane crash. And yet we seem to go to the beach, cross the street and get on airplanes every single day.”

Again, I don’t like to gamble, so I played the odds — even though I contracted COVID-19 in February — and was jabbed in April and May.

It turns out that COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death in the United States last year — behind heart disease and cancer.

If a shot could reduce my risk of dying from either of those two killers, you can bet your life savings I would take them too.

There is nothing we do and no medicine we take that does not involve some risk. For instance, take something as familiar as aspirin: according to the FDA, possible long-term side effects of aspirin can include  internal bleeding, nausea, bleeding in the brain, kidney failure and stroke. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, there are over 50 possible side effects of Amoxicillin — a penicillin-like antibiotic.

When paying attention to the drugs being marketed on television, I have noticed that the advertisement always ends with a long list of possible side effects. 

If the possible side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine scare you that much, you may want to consider joining The Church of Christ, Scientist (a.k.a. Christian Science). They do not visit doctors or use any drugs. They choose prayer when faced with a health issue.

Of course, getting one of the three vaccinations is a personal choice that everyone has to make. I don’t like to gamble, so I chose to get the vaccine. To help make your choice talk to your doctor. They know your medical history.


In the U.S., 389 million doses from one of the three COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the past ten months. For 184 countries globally, that total is 6.12 billion, with a current rate of 29.1 million shots a day.



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