Monday, June 05, 2006

...heads...heads...heads...heads....

I had a conversation once with my mathematical counterpart about the beginning of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead*. I can't remember if the principles of randomness are part of chaos theory or some other mathematical swirl, but I remember him saying that the tricky thing about randomness is that it's, well, random...which means, yes, you could flip a coin a hundred times and it could, theoretically, land on heads every time and yes, that's just as random as any other heads-to-tails ratio.

Randomness tends to strike me in sports. For example, I am, as a rule, spectacularly bad at pool. I love to play pool, but I'm quite comfortable in the fact that I'm a little awful at it. That is, I'm awful at it except for that one point in any given night (most likely owing to the impact of adult beverages) when I turn into a Freaking Pool Genius(tm) and run the table. There's no reason for it. No skill. Not like I suddenly grasp the concept. It's just random.

I went to a house party Saturday night. S2H and his friends don't mess around: when they throw a party, they mean it! It was an old-school fraternity style affair, with beer pong in the kitchen, keg-stands on the deck, card (drinking) games in the living room, and lanes set up for darts (complete with a dartboard that talks smack). These boys do the deed! It was awesome...

I resisted playing darts for a long time because I'm well aware that there's no small amount of folly in the idea of me hurling pointy objects at a little circle across the room (and really, who wants to be the girl at the party who causes the 911 call? Not me, I can tell you!). Finally, with much urging, I relented. Most of my shots were standard-issue awful...bouncing off the board...stuck in the carpet. I don't think I ever missed the board entirely (well, maybe I was a little low once), but no one was ever going to fall in love with me for my dart prowess. ...so imagine the surprise when I came in first in a four-player game...and I beat The One Who Always Wins. Rawr!

Randomness is totally my friend. But, just in case, if you see me out at a party, don't let anyone talk me into skeet shooting, ok?

*Brilliant show by the way, and well done in the movie version. Intellectual tennis, anyone?

5 comments:

miss shirley said...

LOVE that show. So epitomizes the material people do in college when they are learning about theatre as social commentary and not self-centered show boating.

I have the random attacks of pool prowess myself! One New Year's Eve when I was particularly beverage enhanced I whipped some rocker boy tush at a bar on U St, which is bizarre because I am really really terrible at pool. Randomness, also my friend.

towwas said...

It's not as likely as any other ratio, right? It's as likely as any other sequence. 1:1 is going to come up a lot more often than 100:0, but heads heads heads tails heads tails is no more likely than heads heads heads heads heads heads or heads tails heads tails tails tails

grrrbear said...

Right. Any individual sequence of outcomes is just as likely to occur as any of the other ones. ti's when you sum and/or average them that the differences emerge.

I'm sad to say that as a Stoppard-loving theater major - i've never seen or read R&GAD.

I know...I'm a failure as a human being.

I Blog, You Blog said...

No, you're just distracted by shiny things. :) (oooh...pretty!)

But do make a point of watching it...or reading it...or both. It's really quite excellent. I'm betting you'd be awesome at Intellectual Tennis... :)

towwas said...

Oh, I've read it, seen the movie, AND seen it on stage, and I LOVE it. I don't think I've done any of these since high school, though...I should revisit it.