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My husband and I have a company, and I’m officially an employee. My jobs include balancing the checkbook, keeping up with paperwork, and making copies. It’s not much, but I’m always really excited to do these things because I’m nerdy that way. Plus, the thing about writing for a living is that it’s very solitary. Just me sitting here at the computer, in silence. With my side job, I can go out in the world and Look Productive and Efficient. Watch me work! I think, as I buy Post-its, carefully keeping track of the receipts. And so on.

The truth is, I rarely have to do that much stuff, so when I’m asked to, I want to do my very best. So yesterday, when I had to copy a big stack of receipts and invoices for my husband, I had the best of intentions. In fact, I felt oh-so-capable as I walked into Staples, my folder full of documents in hand. I found a copier, fed some sheets into the tray, hit the button. Copies begin shooting out, it’s all good, and then…a jam. Red light comes out, beeping commences. Now, years ago I had a job working as an assistant to a local writer, and I had to make a lot of copies. I wasn’t very good at it, actually, but I’d forgotten that special kind of anxiety that comes along with breaking a copy machine in public. Ah, yes, I thought, as the machine continued to beep. This, I remember. Eventually I managed to dislodge the piece of paper from the machine and get it going again, only to jam it several more times. Plus, as always, I put some stuff on the glass wrong and copied things sideways instead of vertically. Ooops. Oh, well, I thought, when it was over, at least I got it done. Stuck my folder back under my arm, left feeling slightly businesslike still. Until I got home and realized that I’d somehow managed to miss about twenty things, although which ones I wasn’t sure, so I had to go through the entire stack, comparing the originals to the copies. By the time my husband got home I was red faced and frustrated, papers spread out all around me.

“You know,” he said, “I didn’t realize this would be so time consuming.” And to anyone else, it probably wouldn’t have been. But whatever. Eventually I got everything together into a pretty stack (which I fastened with a silver clip, like the school supply nerd that I am). I felt so triumphant that I decided to tackle the business checkbook, only to find that I’d made an error that had us off by three hundred dollars. Ooops. Luckily, it was in our favor. So that’s good, right? Oh, whatever. The moral to this story is that it’s probably best to stick to your strengths. Writing may be boring to watch, but clearly I am marginally better at it than copying. Although in all honestly, it’s really a day to day thing. Some days, like in all jobs, are better than others. Luckily, it doesn’t take that much talent to buy pens and Post-its. That I do VERY well. Impressed, aren’t you?

have a good day, everyone!