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I’m in so much trouble.

My usual plan when I do something dumb is to first explain that it’s not my fault. If that doesn’t work, I generally try to make up a big lie. Both solid strategies, but not foolproof.

At least, this fool can’t always make them work.

I think I’m going to have to go with my least favorite alternative - tell the truth and beg for mercy.

We’ll see how it goes. It feels like confession followed by penance, but as a Methodist this is new territory.

Here’s the deal. A friend of mine wrote a book.

Kudos to him - writing a book is a lot of bother.

Anyway, because he’s a good person, he inscribed a copy with some sort of sincere inscription and gave it to another friend to deliver to me.

He drove to my house and didn’t see anyone around, so he left the book inside the door and called that evening to explain.

I thanked him, and headed to the porch for the book.

Fifteen years ago, when we put a new basement under our house, my dad and I spent a day digging in a drain tile around the foundation. I’ve said, many times, smugly, that was the best day’s work I’ve ever done, because our basement has been dry as a bone no matter the weather. Then, a couple years ago, the outlet for the drain froze during a brutal winter and that spring our basement flooded. It ruined the wood floor in our bedroom, but otherwise didn’t do much damage.

We have a storage closet under the stairs that’s home to an assortment of stuff we don’t need to keep. Last week, I was digging through it and found, in the far corner, a cardboard box of books that had gotten soaked in that spring flood and were largely ruined. I made a couple trips out of the house with the ruined books, putting them in a scrap-wood fire I was tending.

Yeah. You guessed it.

When I went to find the gift book, it wasn’t there. Then I recalled seeing a book on the floor and thinking it had fallen out of the box-to-burn collection. I had picked it up without looking at it and chucked it in the fire.

No, I’m not making this up. Who would make up a story this ridiculous? I mean, I might as well tell the story about saving Bill Gate’s puppy and refusing a reward, even though he offered to give me Oregon.

So, let me recap. A guy goes through the pain and heartbreak of writing a book. Out of the goodness of his heart, he writes a touching inscription and arranges for it to be delivered to me, free of charge. Then I pick it up without a glance, throw it in a fire, and turn it into ashes.

I can’t decide if I’m in I Love Lucy or Everyone Loves Raymond territory. I’d say Three Stooges, but there’s only one stooge here and you’re looking at him.

As soon as I figured out what I’d done, I told my wife and then presented her with a few different scenarios. I hate to say it, but she wasn’t very helpful. She wasn’t at all thrilled about changing our names and moving to Paraguay, and she out and out refused to consider burning down the house.

And those were my best two ideas.

I guess I’m going to have to tell the truth.

Man, I hate when that happens.

Copyright 2020 Brent Olson

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