30 Days of Thanks – Day 7: My Lucky Penny

Yesterday a series of events occurred which reinforced my belief in serendipity and magic. Before I begin there are a few things you need to know.

Earlier this year the corporeal Earth lost one of its best creations. Scott McKinley. He was an angel on earth and as of yesterday I’m even more convinced he continues to be an angel of the universe.

I think about him often, and most often in scenarios where I ask myself “what would Scotty do?” You see he was the kindest and most loving man I’d ever met. No matter what troubles befell him or what mood he found himself in on a given day, he made everyone feel special when he saw them and he greeted them with the most warm and loving “Hey there.” I often think that he played a part in my life to teach me about kindness, to be a living example of what the Golden Rule is really all about.

Now here’s another thing you need to know before I tell the story. There was this thing he and I had with pennies. One evening at Theatre of NOTE Scott handed me a penny. I was in a grouchy and cynical mood and guffawed. I told him half sarcastically that I thought pennies were stupid and lucky pennies just perpetuated their ridiculous use in society. Of course, magical love creature that he was, he was shocked and appalled and insisted I take the lucky penny, while he proceeded to school me on their magical attributes. It all made such perfect sense. In a moment of cynicism and grumpiness, here is Scott to remind me that beauty and goodness is a better choice. From that moment on every time I saw a “lucky” penny on the ground I picked it up and thought of Scott. And the pennies have reminded me that I always have a choice, to be good, or to be a grouch. To be like Scott, or not.

The night before last he visited me in a dream. It wasn’t just a dream wherein he made an appearance. It was one of those conscious/aware dreams where I knew I was dreaming and I knew he was visiting me. I said to him “Scott! Thank you! Oh my God it’s so good to see you!” And we caught up a little, and he smirked his Scotty smirk. And then I woke up.

So that’s what you need to know. Now here’s the story:

Yesterday evening I was walking to my car after work. Traffic was heavy downtown, as it often is. I’m waiting on the corner of 8th and Olive to cross the street. It was one of those situations where cars were pulling into the intersection because they had a green light, but the traffic was so backed up there was no way they were going to make it all the way through before the light turned red, and thus the cross-traffic wouldn’t be able to make it through their green light, causing even worse traffic. This is a pet peeve. I feel like there’s a special circle of hell reserved for those who block the intersection. Back to yesterday. There is a minivan stuck in the intersection obviously hoping to get through, but her light turns red and MY light turns green to walk. What I could have done was wait a minute before I started walking and let this poor woman in the minivan who’s probably late to something important just pull through so she wouldn’t feel like a jerk for blocking the intersection. But I don’t. Like I said, I’ve got a beef. I want to teach her a lesson. The moment I walk in front of her car and grab a glance at her distressed face, I think, “This isn’t right. What would Scotty do?” i.e. what is the kind thing to do? Once he enters my mind I realize instantaneously that I should have done the right thing. I make it to the other side of the street feeling a bit like a jerk and thinking about how I failed the Scott test today. For whatever reason I look down briefly. What is the first thing my eye catches?

I’m stunned. The exact moment I’m thinking about him, there he is. I stoop down to pick up a lone penny. To make sure it’s real. I don’t know what compels me, but I check the year of the penny thinking, now THAT would be weird.


The penny was from 1957.

Same year Scott was born. This penny and he came into the world the same year.

I stand there on Olive and 8th under the lamplight and start to cry. At once sadly reminded that such a good soul has parted, and joyfully reminded that he never truly left. Serendipity. Goodness. Magic. It’s real.

lucky penny

I want to keep the penny. I want to make it into a necklace and wear it next to my heart every day. But I wonder if I shouldn’t send it back into the world. Leave it on another boulevard for the next person who needs it. I don’t want to be greedy. I do, but I don’t. What would Scott do? My heart’s desire is to take this little sign of him and hold onto it with all of my might. Should we keep such tokens? Or send them down the river? I haven’t decided yet.

Everyone slips away into the cosmic dust. Maybe when we do we get to leave little signs of ourselves around the ol’ neighborhood. Little bread crumbs that we’re still there.

Thank you for being my lucky penny Scott. For being everyone’s. I’ll keep following your bread crumbs. I love you. I miss you.

Rebecca and Scotty 1



self-pity, and why it has no place in the universe

I’ve had a few people ask me, why the crap-tasticness alluded to in my in last post? Well, it’s really been a series of things but in a vague nutshell, I’ve just been feeling rejected and dejected lately. I’ve failed a few auditions of late that I really really really wanted to nail, and that hurts. The rejections have spun me into a spiral of self-pity wherein I’ve reacquainted with my adolescent self who tends to repeat in her head “I’m just not that girl.”  Over and over again I keep bombarding myself: “I’m not that girl, I”m not that girl.” I’ve been listening on repeat to both “On my Own” from Les Mis and “I’m Not That Girl” from Wicked, punishing myself and making me believe that there’s just something wrong with me.

You know what I mean; that girl. The girl that seems to get everything she wants. The girl that is on the top of everyone’s radar. The girl that everyone loves. The girl that always wins. I don’t feel like I’ve ever been that girl and I guess I can’t help it if I’ve always wondered what it felt like. I’ve always been really good at being that girl’s best friend.

Then I woke up a few days ago and the universe decided it was sick of my griping. Side note: I totally believe in signs. I believe in serendipity. I don’t care if you think I’m crazy, I think that the universe sends us signs and messages all the time that perhaps don’t necessarily mean anything on their own, but are up to US to translate into meaning and inspiration. I really believe that. So, there I am at work, pitying myself, and all of a sudden, out of the blue, I get called in to audition for a major network television show. The timing was impeccable. I was immediately transported to cloud 9. This was exactly what I needed at that moment. Not only did I get the audition, but the role was perfect for me. A quirky, charactery, fun, yet still somehow plain college student, and the role called for a lot of crying. Perfect! It was like the universe was A) reminding me why I moved to Los Angeles, which was not to do theatre and B) reminding me to accept who I am, and what parts I’m good at playing. So what if I’m not the prom queen, the cheerleader, the typical ingenue, that girl. I am damn good at being me. I’m damn good at being a little bit weird, a little bit off-beat, a best friend, a girl on the sidelines who surprises everyone, a deep feeler, a deep thinker. These are my traits. These are who I am. And if I want to succeed as an actor, I need to embrace that, and do it better than anyone else. Eponine is way more interesting than Cosette anyway.

The next day I got a call to tell me that the part I was to audition for on the major network television show had been written out of the script so I didn’t need to come in to audition after all. Disappointed? Of course, but you know what, ultimately I did not care! It wasn’t just the prospect of doing the show that rejuvenated me (though of course that would have been awesome!), it was the little reminder from the universe of where I should focus my energy. For that, I was so grateful. Thank you universe. Thank you awesome casting directors for believing in me at the exact right time I needed someone to believe. How did you know? 

I’m not really sure there is such a thing as That Girl. I don’t think the universe bestows anyone with any special preference over another. I think that all there is, is our responsibility to figure out who we are, and to embrace it with all our might. I think people who possess that can’t help but succeed. Can’t help but become That Girl. 

Since I no longer had an audition, I had a little extra time on my hands and decided to get some froyo. On the way out of the mall, I saw a very special shirt in the window of Foot Locker. I bought it without thinking twice, and wore it last night on a rejuvenating and powerful 3 mile run. If this wasn’t a sign from the universe, I don’t know what is: