By Lisa Scottoline
They say accidents happen.
They never say the same accident happens over and over.
I’m talking, of course, about coffee grounds.
Every time I try to scoop coffee grounds in the coffeemaker, I’ll spill them on the counter or the floor.
Coffee grounds are the one thing dogs won’t eat off the floor.
Believe me, I tried.
They’re like, again?
So I have to clean them up.
Either way, I end up with coffee grit on my bare feet.
I pretend I’m at the beach.
The other thing I always mess up is eyedrops. The first three drops land on my cheek, so I look like I’m at somebody’s funeral.
I have to use eyedrops regularly now, because I still have the eye infection I gave myself from wearing old eye make-up for my videos to sell my new book. Now I do the videos with no eye make-up and my eyes completely red, so I look like I’m high.
At somebody’s funeral.
Another thing I always mess up is my own signature, when I’m signing a book.
Frankly, I choke.
And I have bad handwriting.
I don’t sign a book, I deface it.
When I used to mess up a book in a regular signing, I would make a joke, tear out the front page, and throw it over my shoulder.
That always got a laugh.
And I would get a fresh book, give it to the reader, and end up buying the book I messed up.
It got expensive.
And I would have a lot of books at home with no title page.
I give books to my FedEx guy, UPS guy, and mail carrier, and the books without a title page are the first ones off the stack. If you’re one of the people who got a book from me with a missing title page, maybe someday it will be worth money.
Another thing that always happens is dishtowels fall off the rack.
This happens at least once a day.
I keep dishtowels on the handle of the oven, but I forget they’re there, open the oven, and the dishtowels end up on the floor.
Every day I’m picking a dishtowel off the floor and putting on the stairs to go up to the laundry room, for the next time I do laundry.
I have a whole pile of dishtowels on my stairs right now, since I’m the only one here and I never change my clothes.
Maybe I should start wearing dishtowels.
It’s not a dishtowel, it’s a loincloth.
Now there’s a visual.
Another thing that always happens is the first pen I pick up will never work. I don’t understand. I keep mugs of pencils and pens, and none of the pens work and all the pencils are worn down to the nub. When I write a shopping list, I find myself rubbing a piece of wood on a piece of paper.
It’s not a list, it’s a fire.
Nowadays I throw away the pen that doesn’t work, but for a long time, I would return the pen to the mug, so it could trick me next time.
Some people call this self-defeating, but not me.
I’m not easily self-defeated.
I think of it like a game I play with myself.
But I end up playing myself.
Honestly, what happens is I don’t use pens often enough, and I think that they dry up more quickly than they used to. In the old days, you could use a pen forever. Nowadays you get one or two sentences and then it’s done.
Especially if you’re signing a book.
When you finally get to the point where you’re not choking on the signature, the pen will run out.
Between the coffee grounds, dishtowels, pens, and pencils, it’s like a conspiracy of inanimate objects.
But don’t worry.
I will self-defeat them.
Copyright Lisa Scottoline 2021
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Ghosts of Harvard, which The Washington Post called “a sweeping and beguiling novel” as well as “a rich, intricately plotted thriller,” is Francesca Serritella’s debut novel.
Best First Novel Finalist– International Thriller Writers