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Chatham has an exceptional citizen in Mark Stinson

By Henry Blair Jr.
Posted Friday, October 3, 2008

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Pittsboro, NC - I have never met Mark Stinson.

First, let me introduce myself. Though I no longer reside in Chatham County, I was raised in Pittsboro and educated in the schools of Chatham County. The statistical methods used in the analysis of Mark's four (per his mother in a Chatlist post) lightening strikes were learned from Mrs Ethyl Johnston, the best algebra teacher ever to teach in the classrooms of Chatham County, or anywhere else. The data used came from a government source (

When taking normal precautions, there is a 1 in 5000 chance someone will be struck by lightning in an 80 year lifetime. The chance of being struck by lightning 4 times in 80 years is 1/5000 x 1/5000 x 1/5000 x 1/5000 or 1 in 625,000,000,000,000. Since Mark is only in his early 40's (per his Chatlist post), the odds of his being struck four times is more like 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000.

Even if Mark were wearing an aluminum foil suit, holding a long copper rod vertically, and ran outside at the approach of every thunder storm in his life, and stayed there for its duration, the dubious achievement of 4 lightning strikes would be hard to accomplish.

I suggest that Mark send an inquiry to the Guinness Book of Records and see if he can qualify for a record that might pay an honorarium.

I have the following suggestions for Mark.

1. Get a surge protector for your home that can be installed at the meter. With your record of lightning strikes, the local energy utility may pay for it and use you in an ad.
2. Always come inside out of the rain.
3. If there is one scintilla of a chance of a thunderstorm, do not stay in the vicinity of the hydrogen converter you have put in your car.
4. And finally, if you have a PayPal account, let me know by private email what it is and I will send you $10 to help you in your exceptional circumstances.

Remember, 1 in 10 people that are struck by lightning do not make it to the next storm

Henry Blair Jr. is a 1961 graduate of Pittsboro High School

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