The Science Behind Coincidence

What’s really going on when we encounter uncanny connections?

It was just a few days shy of my first Thanksgiving without my dad — at least as I’d known him. He’d had heart surgery in January 2017, followed by complications ranging from strokes to a life-threatening bacterial infection. The repeated assaults on his system transformed him. Last Thanksgiving, he had run circles around my 3-year-old. This year, he sat motionless in a chair, unable to spoon his own mashed potatoes.

I needed a distraction. So I hit eBay in search of a license plate for my boys’ transportation-themed bedroom. I decided to look for a Massachusetts plate, because I spent a lot of time there with my dad.

When the first one popped up, the numbers nearly leapt off my screen. It was a 1938 plate, the same year my dad was born, with the numbers 143264. My mom was born in February (2) of 1943, and they married in 1964. I contacted the seller, who told me the plate was part of his father’s vintage collection. He had thousands of them.

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