Leo Herz and Odds

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The above photo was taken, hmm … more than 100 years ago. I found it in a pile of old pictures. The man in the middle, with the mustache, is my great grandfather. His name was Leo Herz.

I don’t know a ton about Leo. He was Jewish, he was my Grandpa Curt’s father, he served in the military in Germany (well before Hitler), he owned some type of store, he was—I’ve been told—a very warm man.

This post, however, isn’t about Leo Herz. It’s about me. My brain.

I love that I’ve posted this photograph here because I just think the odds of a Leo Herz image taken in the early 1900s landing on jeffpearlman.com in 2015 are about, oh, 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000,000. Actually, probably worse than that. I mean, think about it. Back in the day, there was someone standing behind a camera, asking these three men to line up and pose. They were, I presume, in Germany. There were no color photographs, no televisions, a couple of radio stations. The first computer wouldn’t be invented for, oh, 30 years. The Internet wouldn’t come along for nearly a century. If you were to say to Leo Herz, in German, “Eines Tages dieses Foto von Sie und zwei ihrer Kameraden und die Kerle im Fenster wird Wind-up auf dem Blog von ihrem Urenkel, der wird leben in Kalifornien und obsess über die Dürre.”* well, he would surely shrug his shoulders and reply, “Dude, was die Hölle sprechen Sie?”**

When Kentucky played Hampton in the recently completed NCAA Tournament, the odds of an upset were listed as, eh, they weren’t actually listed. The Pirates were, literally, given zero chance. Were I Edward Joyner, Jr., Hampton’s head coach, I would have gripped the photo of Leo Herz and told my team, “Guys, we’re got about a 1 in 1,000,000 chance to win this game. But I’m holding up an image of a man taken in Germany in the early 1900s. The odds of me having this in my possession—significantly worse than that. Yet here it is. Between my fingers. Now let’s go kick some Wildcat ass for ol’ Leo!”

Have a great Monday …

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* One day this photograph of you and two of your comrades and those dudes in the window will wind up on the blog of your great grandson, who will live in California and obsess over the drought.

** Dude, what the hell are you talking about?

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