Burton Cole column

Strong, silent type shortens prospects of a long life

There was a time when I believed talking would kill me. True, my mouth has almost gotten me clobbered more than once. He who smarts off learns to duck quickly. No, I’m talking about the little-boy logic that drove 8-year-old me into become the strong, silent type. I’d run out of comic ...

Taste-deaf husband tries to hear wife

I remember years ago slicing a banana into my bowl of CoCo Wheats. My 9-year-old daughter, drenching her waffles in syrup, wrinkled her nose. “Ew. That’s gross.” With all the sophistication of a then-35-year-old man eating children’s cereal, I replied, “Waffles are gross. Bananas in ...

A grammatical tirade never fixed the roof

I have always admired the kind of guy who can move into a broken-down place and renovate it exquisitely. The kind of guy who stands in the middle of a shambles and sees a room's potential. The kind of guy who replumbs a kitchen, miters a chair rail and installs a countertop. The kind of guy ...

I resolve to solve these mysteries …

In the coming new year, I, Burton W. Cole, hereby resolve to discover the answer to these perplexing life questions: • How can one size possibly fit all? That has to be some serious elastic. Maybe it works by squeezing a person so much that he’s suffocated into the same size as his much ...

My way bypasses the muss and fuss of the ‘right way’

There are two ways to do anything — the right way, and the way it gets done when my wife isn’t watching. This is why I waited until Terry wasn’t home to repair the curlicued support rails on the back porch. If she’d caught me, she would have made me brush and polish all the metal ...

Pack lots of toys on the sleigh!

It happens every year. Just when I finish the 17th addendum to my Christmas list, one of those horrible, awful, terrifying reports flutters onto my desk: “Scientists say stop giving so many toys to kids.” I am within full rights to ignore such nonsense. My 18th birthday is so far in my ...

Joke file chuckles help relieve season’s stressings

While I know the true meaning of Christmas, I’ve also been around plenty enough years — never mind how plenty — to know the true reality of the season: Stress! Planning, parties and not-quite-perfect presents; baking, cooking and unintended roasting; church services, play practices and ...

Burn off the calories with the Christmas tree dance

Thanksgiving gorging has barely settled to a dull gurgle but there are tons more calories on the way. You’ll chew on dinners, meals, banquets and cookie parties at every turn of the Day Planner. Christmas fudge will jump out at you at every turn, sort of like zucchini does in the fall, only ...

Avoid riding along when ‘the ladies’ squabble over best routes

When it comes to routes and road trips, I memorize my map in advance and stick to the plan. Terry is the adventurous one — mostly because she loves jousting with “The Lady.” The Lady speaks to us from the GPS app on my smartphone. The Lady always knows where I’m at, knows where I want ...

Wrapping Christmas gifts is a nightmare

Wrapping presents is as easy as folding fitted sheets — which is to say impossible to make pretty. But as long as you don’t mind a few lumps, clumps and wrinkles, I’m your man for either job. I’ve noticed that gifts generally don’t fare as well as sheets when wadded into a ball and ...

Getting older and cannot keep up with my phone

The reminder tone binged on my cellphone: “Credit card payment due.” “I paid that. I think. Did I? Oh, no.” I scrambled for my laptop and toggled through schedules, spreadsheets and note programs. “Yeah, here it is. I sent it in on the 30th. And on the 24th.” I slapped my forehead. ...

Sickness of silliness provokes grins and giggles

My cousin Scott stared at my foot. “Is there a hole in your shoe?” I wiggled my toes. “Nope.” “Then how do you get your foot into it?” I resisted the urge to bop him upside the head. Why was I born into a family fueled by stupid jokes? “Go tell your mom that she wants you,” ...

Still booked as best friends decades later

I ran into some old friends recently — Frank and Joe Hardy, Chet Morton and Aunt Gertrude. They hadn’t changed a bit. Oh, a bit of dust laced the bindings and the pages seemed a tad yellow around the edges, but the Hardy Boys jumped off the action-packed pages just like they did when I met ...

Nostalgia for a simpler time he never knew

Lately, I’ve been tuning into 1940s swing, jazz and big bands on my drive home from work. More and more, I find myself retreating into an era I never knew and breathing deeply of the fresh air. I work at a daily newspaper where — follow me closely now — I am bombarded by news. It never ...

Wrap your tangled tongue around this doozy of a dotage

I wrapped my wife into one last hug before she climbed into the car. I stood in the parking and we waved at each other until she turned into the street and disappeared from view. I sighed, turned and shuffled back toward the office. A co-worker giggled. “You and Terry are so cute together, ...

You say potato, I say gooey, delicious mess

I opened my lunch bag and made a horrible discovery. It was awful. Tragic. I snatched up my phone and called my wife at home. “Somebody stole my barbecue pork! My barbecue pork is missing!” Terry made those soothing, clucking sounds a wife makes when she fails to grasp the enormity of the ...

Drop that bowl; it’s not party time for this guy

Editor’s Note: Cole somehow escaped for vacation. While he recovers, we offer this updated Cole Classic originally published Oct. 15, 2000. She asked me with a straight face: “Will you host a candle party for me?” Why this overly optimistic friend of mine even considered that a ...

Not really summer, but not autumn either

No wonder September is confused. It’s all mixed up. According to my high school Latin class, “September” comes from the root word “septem,” which translates to “seven.” That made sense under the old 10-month Roman calendar, when September was the seventh month. Then some pesky ...

Getting older definitely has some upsides

I shake my head when I think back to the days I was young and naive. I remember it so well because it was only last week. I suffer a birthday every September or so, and one of those critters just scampered past. So now that I’m older and wiser, what have I learned? • “Senior moments” ...

The prenuptial compatibility quiz you should take

Question: Shouldn’t marriage licenses include mandatory compatibility testing before couples engage in matrimonial deadlock? Answer: My wife and I are fine, thanks. We’re still crazy about each other other. Q: And sometimes, just crazy? A: Well... Q: Prenuptial worksheets designed to ...