How to win the lottery twice, maybe
The post I had on superstition formation a few days ago might be interesting to consider in light of a recent news story. The gist of that prior post was that, if you are performing Action A and good thing G happens to you, and the next time you are performing Action A good thing G happens again, you are—if you’re like most people—well on your way to forming a superstitious connection between performing Action A and having good thing G happen, even if they are not in any way connected.
Enter Kory McFarren, a 37-year old from Great Bend, Kansas. He has just won $20,000 in the Kansas Lottery… for the second time this year. Most people who play the lottery never win any appreciable amount, so what is Mr. McFarren’s secret? Well, perhaps his girlfriend, Pam Babcock, is his lucky charm. You may recall that the pair made news over the summer when Mr. McFarren called 911 to report that Ms. Babcock wouldn’t leave the bathroom, which she had been in for over six months. When emergency responders arrived, they found that she had become physically attached to the toilet, which had adhered to sores on her body. (She was hospitalized and released after several months of treatment, which hopefully went beyond the merely physical aspects of her condition and into mental health areas.)
Hopefully Mr. McFarren is not prone to superstition formation and is a critical thinker, though if he lets his girlfriend litterally grow into his toilet one must be skeptical of his ability to be skeptical. In any event, hopefully neither he nor anyone else forms a connection between allowing a loved one to become physically attached to a toilet and winning the lottery. Law enforcement officials, especially in Kansas, may want to keep an eye out for folks who suddenly start buying lots of lottery tickets: they may be locking loved ones in their bathrooms!