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In a world where certain phenomena seem commonplace, it’s enlightening to discover that many things we perceive as ordinary are, in fact, quite rare. This list of 21 items offers a revealing glimpse into the uncommon aspects hidden within what we often mistakenly assume to be widespread. From ambidexterity to green eyes, these rarities challenge our perceptions and remind us that the extraordinary often lies within the seemingly mundane.
Achieving Perfect Scores on Standardized Tests
Many students aspire to achieve perfect scores on standardized tests like the SAT or ACT, often perceiving it to be a more common achievement due to high achievers’ visibility. However, attaining a perfect score is extraordinarily rare, representing a tiny fraction of test-takers.
Winning a Major Game Show
While game shows like “Jeopardy!” or “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” are popular, the actual number of people who win significant prizes on these shows is quite small. The combination of skill, luck, and the rarity of being selected as a contestant makes winning a major prize a rare occurrence.
While many people might claim to be ambidextrous, true ambidexterity—having an equal ability to use both the left and right hand—is quite rare. Most people have a dominant hand, and only a small percentage can perform tasks equally well with both.
Natural Twins or Triplets
While we often hear about twins or even triplets, the natural occurrence of such births, without the aid of fertility treatments, is rarer than one might think. The chance of having identical twins is about 3 in 1,000, while the odds for fraternal twins vary by region and genetics. Triplets are even rarer, occurring naturally in about 1 in 10,000 pregnancies.
Finding a Four-Leaf Clover
The four-leaf clover is a symbol of luck, primarily because of its rarity. While clover fields are common, finding one with four leaves instead of the usual three is rare, with the odds estimated to be about 1 in 5,000.
Being Struck by Lightning Multiple Times
While getting struck by lightning is already rare, there are even rarer instances of individuals who have been struck multiple times in their lifetime. These cases are so uncommon that they often become the stuff of legends.
Heroic Fire Rescues
The image of a brave individual re-entering a burning building to save someone is a common trope in movies and TV shows. This is extremely rare and highly discouraged due to the immense risk involved. Professional firefighters are trained to handle these situations with protective equipment and knowledge of fire behavior.
Contrary to popular belief, most burglaries do not happen in the middle of the night. According to crime statistics, the majority of burglaries occur during the day when people are at work or school. The image of a burglar sneaking around in the dead of night is more a product of media portrayal than reality.
Halloween Drug Myth
The idea of people giving away drugs disguised as Halloween candy is a persistent urban myth. In reality, this is extremely rare. Most reported cases have turned out to be hoaxes or misunderstandings. Drugs are expensive, and it’s highly unlikely that someone would distribute them randomly to children.
College Dropout Millionaires
The media often highlights stories of college dropouts becoming millionaires or billionaires, like Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg. These are exceptional cases and not the norm. Most successful entrepreneurs have completed their education, and dropping out of college usually leads to lower income and fewer job opportunities.
Red hair is often seen in media and popular culture, leading many to believe it’s more common than it actually is. Only about 2% of the world’s population has red hair. It’s the rarest natural hair color, with the highest concentration found in Scotland and Ireland.
Dissociative Identity Disorder
Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), previously known as multiple personality disorder, is a rare condition. Despite its frequent portrayal in movies and TV shows, it affects only about 1-2% of the population. The dramatic and often sensationalized portrayal in media is not representative of the real experiences of most people with DID.
Water Breaking in Pregnancy
In movies and TV shows, a woman’s water breaking in a dramatic gush is often the first sign of labor. This actually only happens in about 15% of pregnancies. Most of the time, labor starts with contractions and the water may not break until later stages of labor or it may be broken by a healthcare provider.
Resuscitating Drowning Victims
The success rate of resuscitating someone who has drowned is lower than many people think. If the heart stops, there is only a 1 in 20 chance of survival with CPR. An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) can double these chances, but that’s still only 1 in 10. The majority of hearts that stop do not restart.
The stereotype of fit gym-goers laughing at or belittling those who are new or out of shape is largely a myth. Most people at the gym are focused on their own workouts, and many are supportive of others’ fitness journeys. Positive reinforcement and encouragement are much more common than mockery or judgment.
Eating Tide Pods
The “Tide Pod Challenge” gained media attention a few years ago, leading to the perception that it was a common occurrence. In reality, only a small number of incidents were reported, and the trend was quickly discouraged due to the serious health risks involved.
Fear of flying is common, often due to the fear of a plane crash. But actually, the odds of being in a plane crash are extremely low, about 1 in a million. Traveling by car is statistically much more dangerous, but it’s a risk that people are more accustomed to and therefore underestimated.
Hitting a Jackpot
The allure of hitting a jackpot and becoming instantly wealthy is a major draw for casinos. The odds of winning a significant amount on a slot machine or lottery ticket are incredibly low. Casinos are profitable businesses because they are designed to ensure that the house always has the edge.
The portrayal of autistic individuals as savants with extraordinary talents, as popularized by movies like “Rain Man”, is not the norm. While some people with autism have exceptional abilities, known as savant syndrome, the majority do not. Autism is a spectrum disorder, and abilities can range widely among those affected.
Green eyes are often admired for their rarity and beauty. However, they are indeed rare. Only about 1-2% of the world’s population has green eyes, making it one of the least common eye colors globally.
The insanity defense is often portrayed in media as a common and easy way to escape punishment for a crime. In reality, it’s rarely used and seldom successful. It requires substantial evidence to prove that the defendant was unable to distinguish right from wrong at the time of the crime.
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Michelle Harler is the founder of Guide2Free, a website dedicated to finding and sharing freebies, product testing opportunities, and other ways to save money. With over a decade of experience in the industry, her expertise in finding quality offers makes Guide2Free an invaluable resource for anyone looking to try new products and save money.