Day 277: Very Unique

My son and I, who are both a little snobby about grammar, often bemoan the use of the term “very unique.”

We say, “Unique means one of a kind!  How can something be very one of a kind?”  And we sneer a little bit, verbally and facially. (That’s how grammar snobs are.)

So why did I use that term, “Very Unique,” for the title of this blog post?

Well, I’ve been thinking, more than usually this week, about my own uniqueness.

It’s true that each one of us is unique.  We don’t need this guy (or anybody else) to tell us that:


(Although, that can help, sometimes.)

So, yes, each of us is unique, but I may be a little more unique than most. That’s because (as I’ve blogged about before, this year), I have a very unusual heart.  I have Congenitally Corrected Transposition of the Great Arteries.


After I first found out, at age 27, that I had a heart like that, I remember having a conversation with my mother about it, in the hospital cafeteria.

I said to her, “So, my aorta and pulmonary arteries are switched.  That, by itself, would have been very, very bad for me, at birth. However, my heart also has another very, very bad mistake.  The ventricles are switched, too. So my blood goes to all the right places.”

I paused, for the punchline.

“Mom, for years, you have been telling me that ‘two wrongs do not make a right.’  I guess NOT.”

If my memory serves me well, my mother looked at me and said, “Oh, Ann!”  (If my memory serves me well, my mother said that on other occasions, too.)

So, what’s my point, today?

Here’s one:  Of all the people in the world, I should be the MOST forgiving of mistakes. I am, literally, living proof that two giant mistakes are better than one.

So maybe I’ll remember that, the next time I beat myself up about some mistake.

My original intent, in writing today’s post, included presenting some hard data about how very unique my heart actually is. So here are some numbers, from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia website:

CCTGA is a rare heart defect. Only 0.5 to 1 percent of all people with heart defects have CCTGA. This means there are about 5,000 to 10,000 people in the United States with this condition.

I guess that IS a  pretty small group.  (Although —  as with everything — I guess it depends on how you look at it. I wouldn’t want to have all the people with hearts like mine over for a party, any time soon.) (And yet, who knows? Maybe that would be do-able, too. We could always order out, for pizza.)

I still haven’t made my originally intended point, in writing this blog post today.

Here it is:  Yes,  I am very unique. The chances of somebody being born with my kind of heart is (conservatively) approximately 10,000/314 million*.

However, you are very unique, too.

Here’s some math about THAT (quoted from Ali Binazir’s website)**:

Scientists calculate the probability of your existing as you, today, at about one in 400 trillion.

All this math is making my head hurt, right now.  But I believe I am correct in this:

My very-uniqueness is negligible, compared to the very-uniqueness of each of you, reading today.

As a matter of fact, what are the chances of YOU reading this blog post, written by ME, right now?

Now, my head REALLY hurts.

But let’s just say I’m very grateful, for all of it.

Thanks to Fred Rogers, Ali Binazir, and every very unique person, reading right now.

  • 314 million is the 2012 population of the U.S. (The up-to-the-minute U.S. census numbers are unavailable today, October 4, 2013, because of the U.S. government shut-down.)

** Thanks to Google, as usual, for helping me find this.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 67 Comments

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