So there are probably other things I could blog about. I'm kind of feeling lay though so I'm going to cheat. Back in November, I participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and actually finished a book. It still needs serious editing. Which I will do... Eventually. You know. When I have time. But anyway, I'm just going to post the prologue here for the general population to read. So there you have it. I hope you enjoy.
I suppose there are
worse things to be defined by in life than your incredible luck, and
I imagine there are plenty of people who would trade their own luck
for my incredibly stupid but also incredibly undeniable luck. The
problem for me, though, was my luck was the only thing I seemed to be
In most things in
life, I was fairly mediocre. When I was in high school, I was a good
student and did the honors classes and whatnot but I was never
particularly good at any given subject, nor did I like any subject
over another. I was an A and B student in every subject. I wasn't
especially good at art or music or dancing or cooking. I had no
talents to speak of.
From the time I was
three up until I graduated from high school, I had done gymnastics.
I was far too tall to ever be great at it but I worked hard and I was
consistent, making me an asset to my club team, even if I was never
going to go to the Olympics or get a college scholarship from it. At
five-six when I was in high school, I had towered over more or less
every other gymnast I had ever met. I also, like most girls (but not
most gymnasts) went through puberty, though a bit later than normal.
As a result, I was the strange tall gymnasts who actually had a full
chest and hips to match the ripped arms and huge shoulders I had from
throwing myself through the air and catching a stationary bar. As I
said, I was okay. I wasn't a superior athlete naturally, I just
Having no particular
talent or love of any particular subject, college became quite the
dilemma. With no better ideas going through my head, I had gone to
the closest state university and majored in business since I figured
that would be useful no matter what I wound up doing. Part of me had
also been hoping I would find something I really liked in the course
of taking my electives. Again, I did fairly well in my coursework,
well enough to graduate cum laude but not so well that I thought I
wanted to do my MBA.
graduation from college, I simply wasn't sure what to do with my
life. I thought God was playing some sort of sick trick on my life
as my high school friends pursued their dreams, some finding their
dream life, and others falling flat and finding a new dream. My
childhood best friend, Alba (yes, she was named after the place
Napoleon ran off to), was off at vet school, well on her way to
becoming an Equine vet, like she had dreamed of. Her longtime
boyfriend Brett was working as a police officer and was planning to
propose to Alba soon.
I really felt like a
loser compared to my friends and their perfectly laid out lives, with
their plans all turning out exactly as they had hoped. I had made no
plans so I supposed there was no room for me me to be disappointed
that my life wasn't going according to plan, yet somehow their was an
emptiness. I was twenty-four and working as a barista at a coffee
shop. I was a good barista, in that I made the drinks properly and
was friendly with all of the customers, even when all I felt like was
being grouchy. I was not one of those artistic baristas who made
insane art with cappucino foam. I liked my boss and I liked the
people I worked with. In fact, I liked my coworker Lucas a little
I digress, however.
The point of this
story is not how lame my life was in those murky first post-college
years. The point is how my life changed from that point, how I grew
out of being a mediocre, un-talented young adult and into the person
I was always supposed to be.
Remember how I said my
only defining characteristic was luck? If you were as lucky as I am,
you might have been defined by it as well. I was lucky in a strange
sense that required no talent or preparation or skill at all.
It all started when I
was five years old and the library was having a raffle for one of the
very expensive American girl dolls. I was not yet old enough to
appreciate the price of such a doll so my parents had thus far
refused to buy me one, saving it for a gift when I was older and
wouldn't drag it around by the hair and play with it in the mud, like
I was apt to do with my Barbies. My parents couldn't say no to
letting me buy a raffle ticket to benefit the children's division of
the library, however, especially given that there was a one in 10,000
chance I would actually win the overpriced doll.
Imagine their surprise
when we got a call from the librarian the day after the drawing,
telling us to come to library to have my picture taken with my pretty
new American Girl doll. At this point, there was nothing to cause
anyone, including my five-year-old self, any alarm. The odds had
just come out in my favor that one time, it seemed.
My parents, as it
turns out, should not have been worried about the level of care I
would administer to the doll. I treated her as if she were made of
the fragilest glass and gave her a place of honor in my doll cradle,
shoving all the other pretty dolls to the floor so she would be warm
and safe under the softest pink blanket I had.
At Christmas time that
same year, the Lion's club was raffling off a bicycle to benefit the
Toys for Tots campaign. I dearly wanted that purple bicycle with its
shiny pink streamers and the polished white training wheels. My
parents let me spend my tiny allowance on a two dollar raffle ticket,
reminding me that winning the doll giveaway was a once in a lifetime
thing so there was virtually no chance I would actually win the bike.
The giveaway for the
bike was held at the annual town Christmas parade after party in the
fire hall. I remember I was wearing my favorite pink hat and
drinking a hot chocolate with marshmallows. I had been inspecting
the various plates of cookies when my Dad gently pulled me by the
shoulders to come over to watch the drawing.
I remember very
distinctly that the volunteer fire chief, a buddy of my dad's from
work, smiled as he reached into the big basket full of tickets. As
he dug through the names, he told the crowd that five thousand
tickets had been sold. As he pulled a name out and opened his lips
to read it to the crowd, I took a big drink of my hot chocolate.
I choked on my hot
chocolate and Dad had to thump me quite hard on the back as I
“Will lucky Lucy
come to the stage to get her prize!” the fire chief called.
As I was still
recovering from choking, my Dad picked me up by the armpits and
deposited me on the small stage to get my new purple bicycle. I
beamed, despite the hot chocolate dripping from my pink fleece
jacket. The stain, no matter how many times Mom washed the jacket,
never did come out. Nor did the nickname “Lucky Lucy” ever leave
After I won the
bicycle, my parents became concerned that my five-year-old brain
would not be able to understand how unusual it was that I had won two
contests, right in a row. They needn't have worried because even at
that young age I had concluded that obviously I had run out of luck
A few months later,
when my elementary school decided to raffle off a memorial day
vacation to one of the kids who participated in the read-at-home
program, I didn't think much of it. I was automatically entered
because my parents had faithfully filled out the logs every night
when they read me a bedtime story.
In my six year old
way, I was fully flabbergasted when my name was called and I was
presented with a packet of information to give to my parents about
the vacation we would be taking in a few weeks.
I think it was at that
point that both I am my parents started to suspect there was
something to my luck than just chance. When we were on that
vacation, my parents decided to test my seeming luck and had me sign
my name on a giveaway for a kite at the toyshop on the boardwalk. Lo
and behold, I won the pretty rainbow kite and all of us, even me, the
small child, understood that I was lucky.
My parents raised me
in the church so with a lot of prayer, they came to the conclusion
that it was a blessing from God, if a bizarre one. Incredible luck
was a gift that was to be cherished, and not to be used without at
least some discretion. I did not enter contests for the sake of
winning things I didn't need or want but there were still many things
I had won through the years. My family hardly ever paid for a
vacation. In college, I won lots of book store gift cards and hardly
ever had to pay for my textbooks. I had won free gas, cash prizes,
gift cards, and all kinds of stuff, ranging from boxes of cereal and
free hair products to a full kitchen makeover for my parents. By the
time I had reached my 24th year, I hardly ever entered
contests because a lot of the giveaways were stupid and I honestly
did not have enough vacation time to go on every stinking cruise and
Disney vacation they gave away. Blog giveaways were great though. I
had won a kitchen aid mixer and a electronic cutting machine in the
My luck had not solved
every problem in my life. My dumb luck had not saved my parents when
I was in just a sophomore in college. Luck had not kept me from
feeling alone in the world or kept me from crying when I went through
my mother's things in preparation to sell their house to fund the
rest of my college education. Luck had provided me with a lot of
things in my life but it had not made my life perfect by any means.
Luck had not found me
a husband or even a serious boyfriend. I had dates to major dances
during high school, but other than that I hadn't dated at all in high
school. In college I had dated a few guys but nothing long term or
very serious. I had a suspicion that height had something to do with
it. Unlike most girls who stopped growing by fourteen, I continued
to grow until my sophomore year of college. I think sheer force of
will in gymnastics had kept me from growing beyond my five-six in
high school but I shot up to five-ten in college. Combine that
height with my favored high heels and I was as tall or taller than a
lot of men.
When I was 24, I
thought the direction of my life was set. I thought that the only
defining characteristic of my life would always be my luck and never
anything I enjoyed or was good at. In September, the thought that my
whole life would be defined by my luck was further cemented in my
mind. Everything changed and yet nothing had changed. I got up in
the morning and picked up the paper. I nearly choked on my coffee.
The headline blared at me.
LUCKY LUCY WINS BIG:
LOCAL BARISTA WINS $500 MILLION JACKPOT