Examples of improbable real-life events

Specifically - ones that, if a book- or a script-writer would have put in the book/script, the editor would request a change because it is too pat/made-up.

I can think of two offhand:

  • A married presidential candidate is caught having an affair with a model/actress - on a yacht called Monkey Business.

  • A congressman is revealed to have texted pictures of his crotch to various women. His name is Anthony Weiner. (And it’s not even pronounced like “Whiner”).

Feel free to add some more.

Donald Trump is elected President of the United States.

(Am I allowed to say that in this thread?)

The OP listed two politicians.
Coincidentally, both Democrats.

You could throw in the various anti-gay politicians and ministers who were caught in compromising positions.

The second and third presidents of the US (Adams and Jefferson) died on the same day – which moreover was the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, which both men had signed.

Would an editor editor request a change in such a script because it is too pat/made-up? The premise of the OP is the “Monkey Business” and the “Weiner” thing, not the “compromising position” itself.

The fastest man in the world is named Bolt.

How about, there’s a big (but somewhat circumstantial) scandal brewing about a President of the United States maybe having colluded with a semi-hostile foreign power–the Russians, no less!–to win the election. Then, that President’s own son blithely releases a chain of e-mails including the following incredibly on-the-nose quote:

Who talks (writes) that way? “As you know, we are all colluding together with Russia, a foreign power, in order to influence the election on behalf of your father, at the behest of the Russian government, which is to say, the government of a foreign power. Which we all totally need to keep a secret!” :smack:

Through a failure to defend ourselves and nip it in the bud, , the USA is occupied by North Korean troops, and all children are forced to speak North Korean at school.

This one’s personal, but I think it fits the OP’s premise.

My wife and I met and married in college. We grew up in separate towns hundreds of miles apart and knew nothing of each other prior to meeting at college.

We were relaxing on the balcony of our first apartment and saw a couple across the lot doing the same on their balcony. We both claimed we recognized the other (I the male, her the female). It turned out my close friend from elementary school (in my town), and her close friend from elementary school (in her town) had met, married, and rented an apartment adjacent to ours. Neither “friendship” had had contact since we were schoolkids.

A really improbable coincidence, imo.

Guess that’ll teach me to ignore the news over the weekend!

Those are not improbable coincidences, or they wouldn’t keep happening over and over again.

Rany Jazayerli, who used to blog about the Kansas City Royals, commented about how hackneyed a Hollywood trope it is to have the spunky underdog lose the big fight of their movie after putting up a very credible showing, and then to have him come back and win the big fight in the sequel (e.g., Rocky and Rocky II). And then mentioned the 2014-2015 Royals teams as that Hollywood story happening in reality.

The writers didn’t know what to do with the Native Americans, so they gave the Europeans a magic disease that killed them off.

Napoleon was a big fan favorite, so they brought him back against all odds, just to have him lose again.

Ditto the Germans, except their comeback in the sequel was too cartoonish.

America creates a super weapon to end the war, then never uses it again, and whenever it’s brought up again it’s handwaved away.

Does this thread include scientific facts that seem improbable?

The diameter of the moon, improbably, just happens to be perfectly sized to enable us to see a solar eclipse.
There are lots of planets and lots of moons of various sizes…but our moon just happens to be the right size for our sun, so that when there’s an eclipse, the moon perfectly covers up our view of the sun.

Here’s another (though it’s weaker then Bolt and the OP ones)

An NSA leaker is arrested. Her name - Reality Winner.

The head of the FBI serial killer unit goes to prison to interview a serial killer, and the killer remembers they grew up in the same neighborhood (Robert Resslear and John Wayne Gacy).

A true crime writer gets her first book contract to write about the disappearance of several young women in her state. At the time, there are no suspects. She also worked with and befriended a young college student (Ann Rule and Ted Bundy).

One armed machete wielding clown arrested in Maine.

May not be so improbable. A bigger/more massive moon might have dire consequences for our planet’s axial tilt, making the evolution of complex multicellular life problematic. A smaller moon likewise (in different ways).

I thought that could be used, in an SF story, as an explanation for the UFOs that people claim to see; that aliens started to visit Earth incognito to observe eclipses.

Someone attempts to murder Franz Ferdinand and fails. The assassin slips away and stews in a cafe. Hours later, the victim’s car makes an unscheduled turn down a side street and ends up right in front of that very same cafe giving the assassin a second chance. He’s successful this time and sparks the greatest war in history up to that time.