Last week a friend emailed a link to a story about Frank Sinatra’s burial site. Toward the end of the story, just as I was starting to ask why the hell this was sent to me (I’m no Frank Sinatra groupie) the last paragraphs told an anecdote about how Sinatra carried ten dimes with him everywhere he went, in case he needed to make payphone calls. He even took those dimes with him to the grave, having ten 10¢ pieces left with him in his coffin.
A cemetery, a burial site, and a payphone connection. Only by reading to the end did I get why a friend sent me this. What’s not to love about a story like that?
I responded to the email with a couple of lame jokes, then went downstairs to check for postal mail. On top of the mailboxes was an undeliverable piece of mail for one of Frank Sinatra’s nephews, who used to live in this building. I never knew him except to say hi in the hallways a few times, but word among those who knew him was that he wanted nothing to do with being a Sinatra. Putting at least your last name on your mailbox was required back then but he made arrangements with the local USPS office to not show his famous surname on his mailbox.
It was unusual enough to see a piece of mail arrive for someone who had moved out over twenty years earlier. For it to have been a Sinatra when only moments earlier I’d been corresponding with someone about Frank Sinatra made it feel like some kind of mystical alignment had occurred.
I’ve learned to stop referring to things like this as coincidence after being chided by a woman of letters on my use of that word. “Coincidence does not exist,” she declared. indeed, there is what I guess you’d call some controversy about the matter.
I instead refer to things like finding mail for a Sinatra moments after ending a discussion about his uncle (in whom I have minimal interest) as kismet. I think that’s a happier sounding, and less ambiguous in terms of making it seem like God or some metaphysical force intervened. Things like this happen because they happen. That is all.