If timing is everything, I’m glad I saw a recent Twitter post from CNN’s Anderson Cooper when, remarkably, I beat the odds, 7,000,000-to-1.
This week, Anderson invited his 7.39 million followers to ask questions about his new book about conversations and correspondence between him and his mom, Gloria Vanderbilt. How pleasantly surprised I was when he answered my question.
There are serendipitous moments in our lives—fateful incidents, large and small, that push us along our journey toward some version of destiny—and it’s important to pay attention to those moments.
A recent Saturday, for instance, during a quick stop at Lemon’s Grocery in Philo, California, I was attracted to playing one of those scratch-off lottery tickets. Out of all the rows of tickets in the vending machine and more than a year passing since I purchased such a ticket, my eye was drawn to the second-from-the-left $2 ticket on the bottom row. I knew I had to buy that ticket.
My daughter fed my two bucks into the slot, but when we pushed the correct button, the wrong ticket dropped down into the tray. After reading all the directions—you need a degree to figure out these things—I scratched the card into a pile of silver shavings, brushed away the debris and discovered I had won $20! Not bad considering I had to beat a Jack.
Surely, that amount is nothing in comparison to the millions Anderson’s mother inherited when most people were trying to scratch together a few dollars every week, but it was fun, nonetheless.
I grew up hearing stories about Gloria Vanderbilt and her family’s battle to be her guardian and trustee of her massive estate. “Poor little rich girl” is how my mom described Gloria Vanderbilt whose name, like a handful of other names associated with the industrial robber barons of the 19th century—Carnegie, Morgan, Rockefeller are members of a short list—equated with superfluous wealth like the target of today’s One Percenter movement (money, not motorcycles).
Other than being a fan of Anderson’s journalistic prowess, it wasn’t until recently I learned his mother is the Gloria Vanderbilt. Suddenly, it made sense why Kathy Griffin teases him about his wealth and his place in high society or even his refined pronunciation of the word “rather,” as she did one New Year’s Eve. (I included that detail in a silly song I wrote.)
Monday, again, I paid attention to a message and went with the flow to beat the odds. Obviously, not every one of Anderson’s followers saw his post or tried to participate in the conversation with this best-selling author. Regardless, I’m sure the number is significantly greater than if I posted a similar request for reader questions about my new book (*crickets*?).
Buried in my musings is the notion that if you don’t try, you’ll never know if you would have succeeded. “What’s the worst thing they can say?” my dad would ask. “All they can say is ‘no,’ so you may as well try,” I can still hear him advising. I’m glad I tried—and got an answer that was not a “no.”