Amazing but trivial coincidences

I was a police officer in a town on the coast of Maine. One day, a guy comes in to ask some touristy questions, and I discover that he was from the same city in New Jersey that my college roommate was from, and he knew him! My friend had moved over to Pennsylvania by then, but his parent’s still lived in the same NJ house. Several years later, I’m visiting my buddy in PA, and we shot over so I could visit his parents in nearby Jersey too.
After dinner at his parent’s house, my buddy and I go to a little, nondescript cinder block building with no windows and a buzz/passkey kind of entry called the “Italian-American Social Club” there in the town he grew up in. We’re sitting at the bar, and my friend gets up to go use the restroom. Halfway there, he bumps into the guy I spoke to at the police station up in Maine a few years earlier. They hadn’t seen each other since our encounter, though of course I had told my buddy about it. They were close enough to me that I could hear the conversation. As he tells my friend the story of meeting me in Maine, my friend goes, “Yeah, he’s right over there,” and points to me. I go “Hey Joe” and wave, and the look on the guy’s face was absolutely priceless.

Do we have any consensus on how to pronounce Faneuil?
I always wanted to pronounce it “fanny-oil”.
I saw somewhere the pronunciation is “Fane-yul” (where fane rhymes with plane).

I’ve been here 24 years, and have never heard anything in actual usage other than rhyming it with “manual”.

Supposedly some people rhyme it with “flannel”, but I haven’t actually been in conversation with those people.

My Wednesday night routine of late has been to watch an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond. This week the schedule was off, and I watched it on Thursday (Thanksgiving). The next episode up was a Thanksgiving episode.

So, having two people with a similar coincidence is another coincidence.

In high school I became best friends with the guy who sat next to me in home room. His sister and my sister, both two years younger than us, met and became friends independently at about the same time in middle school. Their mother met our mother independently in a local chorus. And our fathers had known each other professionally for some years, although none of us had known that when we met our counterparts.

My other coincidence involves my wife, whose father was a U.S. foreign service officer in the Middle East when she was born. It turned out that my stepmother had lived in the same city at the same time, and was in fact nanny for the children of the ambassador at that station, my father-in-law’s boss.

20? years ago, I was reading a book of trivia questions. One of the questions was, “What is the only state capital who’s name consists of three four-letter words?” Going from east to west in my head, it took me a few minutes to get the answer. The next night, a bunch of us were watching “Wheel of Fortune”. One of the puzzles consisted of four four-letter words and a clue of “place”. I blurted out the answer before any contestant had touched the wheel.

Has anyone mentioned how Paul McCartney was composing a song called “Let it Be” just as Jagger and Richard were composing one called “Let it Bleed”? (This was around New Year’s Day 1969).

That these would become nearly-simultaneous ALBUM names (about a year later) as well might not be entirely coincidental — the Stones and Beatles were on friendly terms, and seeds might have been planted in conversations — but still, it’s pretty amazing, and underscores the public perception of the Stones as a more outré, sinister version of the Beatles.

The wife had a dream about wanting our neighbor’s generator removed from the crawl space under our house where we have allowed him to store it. A couple of days later we smelled gasoline and, sure enough, the thing had started leaking and had dripped several ounces onto the floor.

My wife’s maiden name is a very unusual one, ranking way down among the common names in the US.

One day, I overheard my grandmother mentioning her name. I wondered why she was talking about her, and discovered that my grandmother’s grandmother had the same last name.

What a perfect little story!

I was taking a business class in Rochester, NY (in the mid '90s) when the professor asked us a question with the answer being the name of a huge corporate employer in the area. His hint, the company’s name began and ended with the same letter.

Turns out, all 3 of Rochester’s big corporate employers had the same beginning and ending letters:
-Kodak
-Xerox
-Bausch and Lomb

I was watching an episode of either Nova or American Experience about the opioid epidemic. It was about how ordinary people get snared in addiction for over-prescription of oxy and other pills. So a segment of the show starts in a WVA county and I think, “Hey, I have cousins there.” Then the episode mentions a guy who worked in the mines and he had the same name as my cousin. And it was a common name with an unusual spelling just like my cousin. Sure enough, there’s my cousin, along with pictures of his sibs and his parents. My other cousins and Aunt and Uncle. Well, shit. This is how I found out he lost his leg from the knee down in the mines. Our two branches of the family have been somewhat estranged since his mom, my moms sister, died a few years ago. Made sure to call my mom and sister and tell them.

Actually something like this almost happened to me. I live in West Lafayette, IN and for some reason I was driving around the University of Illinois campus at C-U, having visited a somewhat nearby county park earlier that day. Just a random trip across the border, about 50 miles from home. (Yeah, there’s not much to do in WL.)

I found out a couple of days later that my best friend and his wife, who live way across Illinois, close to St. Louis, had been at the same UI campus on the same day. She had been looking up some research materials (she’s a professor) and he was along for the ride. Neither party was aware of the intentions or movements of the other, so we missed a reunion.

I once looked up at the changeable marquee-like sign of a bank (with which I had no connection whatsoever) to see the message, “Happy Birthday Commasense [i.e., my real first and last name], April 14,” which is not my birthday. I had no idea that I had a namesake living within a few miles of me.

Later, once Facebook was available, I found that there are dozens of us, all unrelated to me, except for a man in Canada with the same first, middle, and last name, who is my second cousin once removed. We had not previously known of each other’s existence.

Two caveats here: (1) I have no idea how well this might be known in the US (but it amazed me); (2) this British person is about to explain stuff about US sports, and I apologize in advance for any gaffes I may make.

I mentioned in passing to Trep jr today that almost-never-seen score in football, the one point safety. That got me wondering if there was video on YouTube of such a score. There is. It has happened twice in NCAA Division 1 football - a November 26, 2004, game in which Texas scored against Texas A&M, and the 2013 Fiesta Bowl in which Oregon scored against Kansas State, and both scores are on YouTube.

The coincidence? Both games were called by Brad Nessler. Here’s video of lightning striking Brad for the second time, and his disbelieving reaction.

j

ETA - so far as I can tell, this hasn’t come up on the boards before.

Yesterday was a beautiful day - high in the 70s - and I wanted to get a bunch of errands run before it turns cold again for good. I was driving home and thinking “ok, all done, everything is fine”. I looked to my right and saw a big sign in front of a building that said “No Worries”. :grin: