Chick Wit Classic: Focused

By Lisa Scottoline

I’m trying to understand why I have six different pairs of eyeglasses. I’m only one woman, with two nearsighted eyes.

I realized this odd state of affairs when I decided that I would finally replace my glasses, which were crooked because I had put them on the bedside table one night and didn’t reach far enough, so they fell to the floor. I was too tired to pick them up and figured I’d get them in the morning, which I did.

With my foot.

I specialize in ruining glasses. I sit on them, drop them face down, set thick books on them, and put them in the case wrong, snapping off a stem. Freud would say I don’t like wearing glasses.

Guy’s a genius.

Anyway I wore my broken glasses for a week, but I got tired of looking drunk, so I bought a new pair. We won’t talk about how much they cost, because now you need a second mortgage to buy glasses, which is why I never throw any away, but that’s not my point.

My point is that now I own a new pair of normal glasses, a pair of ancient prescription sunglasses I use for the beach and yard work, a pair of semi-ancient prescription sunglasses I use for driving and everything else, a pair of non-prescription sunglasses, and a pair of wacky zany kooky reading glasses, which is either the mark of a true eccentric or a middle-aged woman.

Or both.

My wacky zany kooky readers look like spin art on the boardwalk, in fuchsia and turquoise with weird swirls of gold. I’ve found that even the most conservative woman will wear wacky zany kooky readers. In fact, the more conservative the woman, the wackier the readers. Secretly, I think we’re all sending the same message, which is:

I’m not dead yet.

I’m letting my freak flag fly.

Also you’re not the boss of me.

Yay, us!

Anyway, to stay on point, how can I have so many glasses? Every time I go anywhere, my purse is full of glasses cases. And the craziest part?

I also have contacts.

I got contacts in the sixth grade, after somebody told me, “Men don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses.”


Back then, contact lenses were made of actual glass, so you had to get used to them by wearing them for a month, blinking and tearing, in continuous eye pain. I never really got used to them, so you could tell I was wearing contacts by the tentative backward tilt to my head as I walked, like someone crossing a rickety rope bridge in the Amazon.

Plus the glass contacts were always popping out of my eyes, and everybody in the vicinity would end up on all fours, picking through the rug. The only good part was that I learned to shoot them out of my eyes for fun, by pressing down on the side of the lens, playing corneal tiddlywinks.

Sorry, only people old enough to remember glass contacts will get the tiddlywinks reference. All others, please humor me.

Anyway, it was a lot of trouble to go through for men to make passes, and then Thing One and Thing Two happened, so what does that tell you?

But now it turns out that contacts and glasses aren’t good enough, because there’s a new goop that women can put on their eyelids if they have “inadequate lashes.”


The ads say, “It’s your own eyelashes – only better.”

Thank God my eyelashes can be better. I had no idea they were underachieving. I have slacker eyelashes.

The ad also says you can “grow your own lashes!”

This is a novel idea. I grow my own tomatoes. I grow my own basil. I never thought of growing my own body parts, for limbs and appendages that weren’t up to snuff.

Given my druthers, I’d bypass the lashes and grow more boobs.

I bet men would make passes at me, then. Even if I wore glasses.

I smell Thing Three.

But if you ask me, this eye business has gotten out of hand.

First glasses weren’t good enough, so I got contacts. Now my eyes aren’t good enough.

So will I buy this eyelash goop?

No. I’m older and wiser, and I draw the line.

And I don’t mean eyeliner.

Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice?

Okay, that happens.

But three times?


I have plenty of glasses, contacts, and eyelashes, thank you.

I can see clearly now.

My vision is, finally, perfect.

Copyright Lisa Scottoline

Chick Wit Classic: Love

By Lisa Scottoline

Whenever Valentine’s Day comes up, the newspaper, TV, and stores are full of heart-shaped candy boxes, roses, and jewelry for “that special someone.” The holiday has become a celebration of romantic love, and that’s great if you’re in a romance or you’re married, which is like having an automatic valentine.

But not everyone is so lucky.

There are plenty of people who aren’t seeing someone right now, which is code for haven’t had a date in 55 years. Like me. And that’s okay, every day except Valentine’s Day. 

Single people feel like losers on Valentine’s Day. They’re left out of the hearts and candy. They become wallflowers at the party of life. 

This is sad, and wrong. I think it’s time to revisit the way we think about Valentine’s Day. So welcome to another trademark Scottoline time-to-change-things story, wherein my bossy and controlling nature works to my advantage, for once.

To begin, I did some research, and I learned that St. Valentine’s Day was intended to celebrate a loving man, a priest so sweet, giving, and devout that he became a saint. Historically, his day had nothing to do with romance. In fact, it wasn’t until the Middle Ages, when Geoffrey Chaucer wrote a poem entitled a Parliament of Foules, that St. Valentine’s Day became associated with romantic love. 

Aha! So the link between Valentine’s Day and romance is pure fiction. Chaucer made it up, and trust me, he did it to move some poems. Sex sells. Romance novels are best-sellers for a reason, and even my books have sex scenes, which I write from memory.

And now I forget.

Given that the history of the holiday is so sketchy, I feel free to write on a clean slate. In other words, I can make it up, too. 

And if you ask me, Valentine’s Day is really about love. Not only romantic love, but also just plain love. And if you’re not married or seeing someone, you can still have love in your life.


In my case, I have tons of love in my life. I love my kid, my family, and my friends. I love the people I work with. I love my readers. I love my dogs, cats, and pony. I love spaghetti. I love opera. I love books. I love Brad Pitt in Legends of The Fall

In short, I love.

If I were going to improve on that maxim of Descartes, “I think, therefore I am,” I’d say, “I love, therefore I am.” Or instead of Pope’s saying, “To err is human,” I’d go with, “To love is human.” Plus I agree completely with that great philosopher James Taylor, who tells us to “shower the people you love with love.”

So I propose that, on Valentine’s Day, we celebrate love. Shower the people you love with love. Don’t take each other for granted. Recognize that we grow more valuable to each other as time passes, not less. Raise a glass to someone you love, in celebration of an emotion that powers our best intentions, leads to our greatest happiness, and gives us the stories of the world’s greatest operas, movies, and novels.

Now, there may be some of you reading this who have no one. Maybe you’ve lost someone, or they’re far away, and you’re left hiding in your house or apartment, waiting for Valentine’s Day to pass. 

Here’s my advice to you:

Find the love in your life, because it’s all around you. And if you can’t find it, make it yourself.

Make love.

And by that, I don’t mean 

I mean, adopt a dog and love it. Buy it a pretty collar and walk it around the block. A cat works, too. Cats like pretty collars, even though they’re too proud to say so. Or get a fish. There’s no shame in love you can buy, even if it has scales. I don’t think goldfish get enough credit. Not everybody can look good in orange. 

Or read a book that everyone says is great. You’ll find a story you love, and maybe an author. Or if you don’t like to read, watch Legends of the Fall. You’ll love Brad Pitt, whether you’re a man or a woman.

And if none of that appeals to you, volunteer at a shelter or a hospital. Cook a meal for the parents at Ronald McDonald House, like a friend of mine did. 

Because the thing about love is that we can’t control whether we get it, but we can control whether we give it.

And each feels as good as the other.

Your heart doesn’t know whether it’s loving a man, a TV show, or a guppy. If your heart were that smart, it would be your brain.

All your heart knows is that it’s full and happy, and you will feel alive and human. 

And next time, you will have a wonderful Valentine’s Day.

And, better yet, a wonderful life.

Copyright Lisa Scottoline

Chick Wit Classic: Cover Me

By Lisa Scottoline

I don’t know who invented duvet covers, but judging from the spelling, it was the French, and I’m guessing they did it in retaliation for Pepe Le Pew. 

Oo-la-la, mon cheri.

I don’t know when I got sucked into the duvet-cover scam, but I think it was in the eighties, a time before I had dogs, which is relevant here.  Because back then, the duvet cover never needed washing, and everything was fine.  But now I have to wash it all the time, as a result of sleeping with various and sundry critters, which means that I have to put it back on the bed again.

And it’s just impossible to put a duvet cover back on a duvet, or if we stop being pretentious, a comforter.

I don’t know how to do it in less than an hour.  And last time, I got so disgusted that I gave up and just placed the duvet cover on top of the comforter, making my bed like a cheese sandwich. 

I mean, what’s the difference?  The cover was covering the duvet, after all, and who’s coming after me?  The gendarmerie?

I simply can’t do it.

Here’s my procedure: I stuff the corner of the comforter in one corner of the duvet cover, then jump up on the bed and shake the comforter down the sides and into the other corners, which is when I realize I have the comforter twisted like a double helix inside the cover.  So then I have to dump the comforter out and start all over again while profanity commences, and I forget about bothering with whether the comforter is lengthwise or not, because I pretend it’s a square.  Bottom line, I struggle and struggle until the comforter is shoved back inside the cover, like a baby stuffed back into its amniotic sac, in a process that’s only slightly less painful than giving birth in reverse.

If you follow.

I’m over it.  I’m done with duvet covers and the other impossible things around my house, like halogen bulbs.  I have them under my kitchen cabinets, and the contractor swore to me they would be beautiful, and they are.  But he never told me that it would be impossible to change the itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny, twenty-watt, double-pronged bulb.

And by the way, you’re not allowed to touch it with your fingers.

I’m not kidding. 

He told me that the oil from my fingertips will somehow rub off on the glass of the halogen bulb and cause it to spontaneously combust or perhaps cause World War III, and that I’m supposed to take a paper towel or piece of toilet paper, wrap it around the halogen bulb, then hold the wrapped bulb between my thumb and index finger and stick that assembly in the pinpoint holes in the fixture.

Try this at home. 

The bulb will pop like a cork from the paper towel, sail through the air, land on the counter, and shatter into lethal shards.  It will take four bulbs to get one inside. 

You’ll see.

Or, if you manage to keep your grip on the paper-and-bulb combo, try sticking the bulb’s two prongs, which are the gauge of sewing needles and just as pointy, into the tiny holes in the fixture, which are the size of a needle’s eye.

Good luck with that.  You could attach a spaceship to a docking station with greater ease.

And the kicker is that since my fixture is under the cabinet, I have to bend backwards in order to change the bulb, so that the back of my head is resting on the counter.  Then I try to stick the bulb in the fixture, like a mechanic under a car, only doing the limbo.  The last time I changed a bulb, I felt like I ripped my stomach muscles.  It gave new meaning to shredded abs.

So I tried a new way, climbing onto my counter and lying down under the cabinets like I was going to sleep.  I went through two bulbs and gave up, and now I’m cursing the halogen bulb and the duvet cover.

And Pepe Le Pew.

Copyright Lisa Scottoline