I won The Listserve Lottery

Here's how I described The Listserve in 2012:

Here's how The Listserve works: you subscribe to the mailing list (13,667 people are subscribers so far). Once a day, a subscriber is chosen at random to share a self-written essay with the other subscribers. I've been a member for a couple of weeks and every essay has been worth reading. I've received recipes, advice for being happier, information about keeping bees, business-starting tips, and more.

There are now 23,564 subscribers. I was told that with that many people, it would take on average 15 years for my name to be drawn (based on a 50% winner response rate).

I was randomly selected over the weekend, and I wrote a short essay called "Lucky Breaks," which The Listserve published today.

Lucky Breaks
September 04 2013

I often get irked by minor hassles: Speeding and parking tickets. Car trouble. Cancelled flights. Stomach flus. Rude people. Spotty cell phone coverage. Getting ripped off. These are all little things, and usually the products of my own creation, but they make me mad anyway.

It helps to put things in perspective. I think about my lucky breaks and near misses. When I was 12, two friends and I trespassed on private property to explore a cave, and a man standing in the field fired a shotgun at us. He was far enough away that the shot bounced off our skin. If he'd been closer we could have been injured or worse.

In college I was walking at night with a friend and a car pulled up and the passenger pointed a pistol at us. Idiotically, I walked up to him and asked him what kind of gun it was. He was so nonplussed that he told me the make and model of his pistol and then ordered the driver to drive away.

Another time I was driving with friends in my car in Boulder, Colorado. This was 1982 or so. It was two in the morning and the car was rattling with empty beer cans. As I drove, I wondered why the traffic lights were all out. A police car pulled us over. He told me I was driving the wrong way down a one way street. He asked me to step out of the car, and shined his flashlight in the car. He saw all the beer cans. He took my license and told me to wait by the car, then went into his car to radio back to the station. Five minutes later he got out of the car and said, "Turn your car around and go home." And then he got in his car and drove away. I still have no idea why he didn't at least give me a ticket for having and open container and for driving the wrong way.

My lucky breaks have outnumbered my unlucky ones, and I'm very grateful.

Mark Frauenfelder
Los Angeles