Tag Archive: water

Check, Please!

(Submitted by reader Daniel Moyer)

In my youth I waited tables at a local diner. I worked the weekend early shifts, and referred to breakfast as the “meal of beverages.” There was always a huge variety of fluids (coffee, tea, milk, juice, water, etc…) at each table beyond the myriad assortment of breakfast foods. It happened one fateful day that I had two unrelated tables, both of them four tops.

As one could expect, each table had entirely different meals from the drinks down to the side orders. Eventually, table number one decided they were finished and ready to head out for their day, so digging through my pocketful of register checks, I handed them their bill, and they left, paying up at the register on their way out.

The second table remained active and decided they wanted additional food. When I went to add onto their check I realized to my dismay I had handed table number one the check for table number two, which was now closed out and paid for! I rushed up to the register to get the correct check to see how bad the situation was about to get for me. The hostess dug down through the cancelled checks to find the proper one and to our utter amazement, both bills were identical right down to the penny! Neither one of us could believe what we were seeing. With a great deal of relief and amazement, I explained the circumstance to table number two and showed them the proof, again, shock and awe.

I was able to add their additional food to table number one’s original check which they could now safely pay as easily as if the error had never occurred in the first place. The diner Gods were certainly smiling on me that day, and even though it’s hard to swallow, it’s the absolute truth and I enjoy recounting the story to this day. Is there any way to deduce these seriously crazy odds???

Below are the extended notes provided by Barbara Drescher for use in Skepticality Episode 205. Take a look and leave your comments below.

Without knowing the possible combinations, it is extremely difficult to determine the odds of this happening. It might very well be high, especially if a number of items on the menu have the same price. Most restaurant pricing is a whole dollar amount with zero, $.50, or $.99 tacked on, but nothing in between. Furthermore, a diner’s breakfast menu is not likely to have items which vary a great deal in price and the per person total probably falls within a tight range most of the time. So, while I am sure that it felt shocking to the author, my guess is that the odds are not all that crazy.

Raging Rapids Rescue

Years back, when I was still married, my ex-wife and I visited Schlitterbahn, a water park near Dallas, Texas, with her family and our daughter. While our daughter enjoyed various activities with her grandparents, my then-wife and I went on their park-circling raging rapids ride.

The ride puts you on a borrowed inner tube, raft, or a variety of other available floating options as it batters you through artificially-choppy waters, under bridges, through tunnels, around sharp bends, etc. It has only a couple of entry and exit points, and you’re otherwise essentially “locked in” once you get on until you reach one of these points.

My wife was wearing one of her typical black hair band clips. I honestly don’t know what its real name is, but it was long, black, covered with teeth, in a single piece, and went essentially from ear to ear. Anyway, to make this part of the story short, while riding along together on one of the rafts, the band came loose and slipped off her head. She made a desperate grab for it, but it bounced off her hand, off the back of her leg, and into the raging waters behind us. She was pretty disappointed, partially because she was counting on it to hold her hair that day, and partially because she was fond of it (even if it was cheaply-replaced plastic).

As we approached the next entrance/exit point she decided to call an end to our ride after the loss of the hair band, and we climbed off the raft in slightly (though still frothy) waters and walk up the stairs to dry land. For the hell of it, I decided to drag my feed along the ground as I walked toward the stairs and carefully lifted my feet up each step, just in the ridiculous off-chance that I might catch the hair band in this absurdly fast-moving large body of water.

And sure enough, just as my feet broke the surface, there was the hair band, precariously caught around my ankle as I lifted it to safety. My ex and I were both notably startled and considered the situation, and the band, exceptionally lucky.

Within a few months the band was broken and forgotten and never played any important role in our lives beyond this story. If someone was looking out for us, they clearly had strange priorities.

Trucks Just Want to Have Fun

(Submitted by friend of the blog, Paula Lauterbach)

I have had my truck for about 4 years.  Sometimes I have needed to add water to the radiator, but the interior temp gauge never rose above the halfway mark.

In mid July 2011, I drove from Los Angeles to Las Vegas (Remember…JULY) to attend a conference of atheists, skeptics, free thinkers and the like.  I brought water in case something happened because of the heat, but I had no problems.

Then yesterday (July 24), I drove a much shorter distance to Orange County to see a friend speak at a Christian Church and answer questions about what it means to be a non-believer.  Very nice talk.

Within five minutes of leaving the venue, my “check gauges” light buzzed loudly and my temp gauge was all the way over to the red right area.  I pulled over ASAP and used all the water I had for Vegas.  It made it to the restaurant I was going to next (and then a gas station for more).

Now my truck seems ok.  But I thought it was funny it was all fine and dandy traveling to Vegas to be near heathens and then had an issue after visiting a church!

[EDITOR: If this doesn’t sound like perfect confirmation bias to reinforce my preference of Vegas over church, I don’t know what does.]