It wasn't something that happens in The Big City often.
I think the last time I pulled it off was almost three years ago.
We pulled a no-hitter on an eight-hour overnight.
Eight up, eight down.
If last night were a soccer match, the score would be 0-0.
I'm back in tonight, and I'm expecting a loooonnngggg night.
That's the way it goes, right?
Last night was bliss, tonight should be bedlam.
Which got me to thinking about the idea of randomness.
Personally, I don't think it exists.
Theoretically, EMS shifts should follow a uniform distribution, where the chances of a call or no call during a given time period (in my case, an eight hour shift) is drawn from a single pool of chances, all of which are equally probable.
Or something like that.
Seems some guys way smarter than me agree.
True randomness is hard to generate, even when you want to, and even when you've designed a computer to achieve it.
The folks at Random.org bemoan this lack of true randomnity (is that even a word?).
"Surprising as it may seem, it is difficult to get a computer to do something by chance," says the Web site. "A computer follows its instructions blindly and is therefore completely predictable. A computer that doesn't follow its instructions in this manner is broken."
Of course, those of us who've spent any time having meals and sleep interrupted by the machinations of the EMS Gods could tell you that there's nothing random about our profession.
For me it all comes down to the statistical concept of frequency distribution.
Frequency distribution is used to illuminate data by providing a visual representation of particular occurrences and how often they occur.
Usually this data is presented in tabular form.
EMS could best be summarized by what's known as a "continuous" frequency distribution, which is used to present data on a theoretically infinite number of possible values.
It seems fitting because there are, for now, an infinite number of EMS calls yet to be.
Tonight, I expect one of those nights that feels like there are an infinite number of EMS calls yet to be.
Hopefully I'm wrong.
The answer might be in the stars, but personally I think it's in a few thousand Capes, triple deckers, nightclubs, homeless shelters and apartment complexes.
I'll let you know how it went.
Hoist on His Own Petard
1 week ago