I've got an itch to scratch | Lisa Scottoline

Backside of white woman back pain and ache concept
You can never find a backscratcher when you need one.

You may remember that I used to write about Mother Mary’s love of backscratchers.

Yes, I made fun of my mother for profit.

You know what?

She approved.

She loved that I wrote about her.  In fact, sometimes when I would call her, she would begin the conversation with, “I did something you should write about.”

So thanks to all of you, who gave me the chance to give her the spotlight that she deserved, and frankly that all of us deserve.

We all do things that we should write about.

So here I am, writing about them so you don’t have to.

Don’t worry, I’m a professional.

I got this.

Today, I’m remembering that Mother Mary had six backscratchers in her house.  She even traveled with one when she came to see me because I didn’t have any.

Let me tell you, a backscratcher looks strange in a suitcase.

Actually a backscratcher looks strange anywhere.

A stick with a hand on the end is the stuff of nightmares.

My mother had a backscratcher that was black enamel bamboo and at one end was a realistic hand with long fake fingernails.

Eww.

Still, I wish I had that now, but I suspect my brother does. That would be a Scottoline-style family heirloom.

A backscratcher and maybe a pack of matches.

In any event, I got to thinking about my mother and her backscratchers because, all of a sudden, my back is super-itchy.

I have a backscratcher, but I have to buy about 300 more.  My one is always upstairs, because I keep it under my pillow at night.

How sexy is that?

You know you’re in trouble when the adult toy you use the most in the bedroom is a backscratcher.

Or maybe you’re not in trouble.

Maybe you’re doing just fine.

Maybe you’re living your life exactly as God intended, in purity.

But when I’m downstairs without the backscratcher, I find myself rubbing my back on door jambs like a deer.

I improvise with serving forks, carving forks, and chef’s knives.

There isn’t a sharp object in the tristate area that I haven’t used to scratch my back.

One time I was with Francesca and I asked her to scratch my back, and she did, but the relief was only temporary.

Asking someone to scratch your back never works out the way you hoped.

It takes too long for them to find the itch, since you can’t properly direct them.

Saying “there, not there,” and “here, not here,” isn’t very helpful.

And before long, the guilt feels worse than the itching.

And even if they find the itch, they never scratch it long enough.

They get bored, probably because it took so long to find the itch in the first place.

I, however, am just warming up.

Scratching my back all day would do just fine.

But I get it, you have a life.

My back started itching when I turned 60, and I wondered if it was related to aging, like maybe my skin is drying up in general.

But if that’s true, why don’t my legs itch?

Or my arms?

Or my breasts?

I can’t tell you the last time I had any feelings whatsoever in my breast.

So I don’t think it’s aging.

And so here I am, in dire need of more backscratchers, and on my last book tour, you know what I packed in my suitcase.

Yes, I did.

So it’s come full circle, Mother Mary and me, front to back, and back again.

And every time I reach for a backscratcher, I know Mother Mary is laughing her ass off in heaven.

I’ve become my mother, but without the smoking.

Profanity included.

You remember at the end of the movie Carrie, when the hand reaches up out of the grave?

Well, in the movie Lisa, it’s Mother Mary who’s making my back itch from beyond the grave, and the thing that’s sticking up out of the soil is a backscratcher.

It’s payback, since I made fun of her all those times.

Or her saying, “I did something you should write about.”

And so I am.

Thanks, Mom.

Look for Lisa and Francesca’s new humor collection, “I Need a Lifeguard Everywhere But the Pool,” and Lisa’s new best-selling domestic thriller, “After Anna,” in stores now. lisa@scottoline.com.