The Cosmic Lottery

Friday July 27th, 2012 – Glenview, IL

   The absolute single most required ingredient to achieving success at anything in life is a matter of being at the right place at the right time. That’s not really a secret, just like picking the correct lottery numbers. Everybody knows that picking the right series of numbers on the right day wins.

What those exact numbers are however is a completely different puzzle. Who can predict those with any accuracy? If anyone could, they’d do it and keep doing it until the money flow stopped. Sometimes life boils down to just plain old dumb luck and I don’t think it’s any more than that.

That luck can go either way. Look at the people in Aurora, CO who were at the Batman movie premiere. Millions of people attended thousands of movies since movies came out, but was there a mass shooting in a theatre any time in history before this? If there was, I’m sure not aware of it.

Even more seemingly random, in a packed theatre there were a dozen people killed and dozens more wounded. How many people were there that walked away unhurt? 100? 200? Whatever the case, some that night were in the wrong place at the wrong time and there was no way to stop it.

I know in my life I’ve seen several combinations of this equation. I’ve been in the right place at the wrong time and the wrong place at the right time. I’ve even managed to show up at the wrong place at the wrong time multiple times. What I wouldn’t give to get a shot at being at the coveted right place at the right time, but how does it happen? I don’t think it’s something that’s planned.

There are all kinds of examples of happenings throughout history that just seemed to have been in the cards. What if John Lennon hadn’t met Paul McCartney? Would there have been a Beatles as we know it? I can’t say. And what about the equivalent matches that never happened? Doesn’t it make sense that that has occurred as well? What if one of the people missed a bus and blew it?

Elvis Presley hit the biggest cosmic lottery of all time. He was a good looking white kid living in a music town who could sing like a black man. Not only that, he did it at a time in history that will never be duplicated. He exploded along with rock and roll in general, along with mass media in general. Network television spread across the country to the masses, and he was a part of that.

Michael Jackson did that with music videos on MTV. He stepped in and became the king of an all new form of entertainment, and it reached a generation worldwide. Five years before or after, and I have to wonder if Elvis or Michael Jackson would have been the chosen ones as they were.

Dane Cook did it in standup comedy. He manipulated the twenty-something internet generation and created a buzz like none before him with a huge chunk of fans. Again, he was exactly where he needed to be right when he needed to be there. How does that happen? I wish I had an idea.

This all crossed my mind as I was performing at the Laughing Chameleon in Glenview, IL this evening. The 30 or so people were nice and I had fun, but it would have been nicer and  more fun if I were doing it in a full 3000 seat theatre. But that’s another place and another time. Not now.

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