I don't think of myself as superstitious. I prefer to present myself as just an average woman taking reasonable precautions so the fates don't barrel in and knock me flat. I will concede, however, that what seems like sensible safety measures to me, might seem like Looney Tunes to the next person.
So where does it all begin? Remember the saying, "step on a crack, break your mother's back"? My mother had severe spinal arthritis. As a child, I couldn't help but wonder if my sister and I had raced too carelessly up and down the block? Picture six-year-old Evelyn David laboriously stepping over each crack in the sidewalk until her big sister lost patience with her geriatric progress to the movies and knocked her flat. Forget the fates when you've got older siblings.
Rational people have to be intelligent about their superstitions – and that's not a contradiction in terms. Hear me out. I don't throw salt over my left shoulder if I spill any. Why? First, who uses much salt given all the fears about hypertension? But more importantly, who the heck is going to clean up the salt if I do toss it willy-nilly over my shoulder? I've never noticed any fates picking up a broom.
But as anyone who spends thirty seconds with me, in person or online, knows, I seem to be constantly spitting. No it's not denture plates flapping in the wind. Instead, and I confess I have yet to meet anyone else who seems to have heard of this superstition, I follow the "poo, poo" rule.
It's a multi-purpose, one-size-fits-all superstition. At its core, it is used to provide cover from the evil eye. So when I see a new baby, as soon as I finish saying, "he's so beautiful" I immediately add, "poo, poo." I don't want those pesky fates anywhere near an innocent child.
But poo, poo, is also used to ward off the fates looking to up-end a cherished dream. So if I were to say, "I wish that Tom Selleck would decide to star in the movie version of Murder Off the Books," I would then add, "poo, poo." This will prevent those ornery fates from deciding to have Dr. Phil sign on for the role. Of course, the rational me says that if Dr. Phil does decide to make the movie, and more importantly, if his check to buy the movie rights clears, then maybe those fates do know a thing or two and I should stop spitting.
Sometimes I'm the designated spitter. It's the same principle as the designated driver at a fabulous party. The champagne is flowing, the margaritas are plentiful (and so is all that salt dropping from the rims, I might add), people are laughing and forgetting all caution because they know that dull as dishwater Evelyn is in the corner ready to take up the slack, and drive everyone safely home, or in this case, spit as necessary. So when the Southern half announces gleefully that our sequel, Murder Takes the Cake, is going to win an Agatha, an Edgar, and land on the New York Times best-seller list, who do you think is left spitless trying to cover all the evil eyes undoubtedly looking to send our book directly to the remainder table?
That's okay. You can count on me…poo, poo.