Burton Cole column

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 ...

Dreamed of being the janitor

Other kids wanted to grow up to be firefighters, football players, dinosaur wranglers or things like that. I wanted to be the school janitor. Mr. Humphrey, the janitor at Monroe Elementary, was a giant of a man — he must have been 7 or 8 feet tall — in a smoky gray work uniform who had the ...

Turn off, tune out and drop into predigital thinking

My wife looked up from her smartphone. “Remember when we had to seek answers?” I paused the YouTube video. “Sure. Wait, what?” “We used to ask God why. Now we ask Google.” “Why go on faith when you can go online?” “Exactly. A few taps of the screen and boom, you have ...

I, Burton Cole, being of sound Secret Squirrel mind…

I have yet to declare my last will and testament for two compelling reasons. The first is that my heirs have seen my possessions and suggested that I take them with me. Second — and more problematic than the first point — I would have to swear to be of sound mind. Apparently, people ...

Sometimes, duct tape serves as best spousal communication tool

My wife stewed. And I don’t mean making a hearty soup in the kitchen. Oh, no. She glowered from her chair in frosty silence — which isn’t easy to pull off when there’s steam rolling out your ears. Husbands fear this moment. So I took her hand and cooed, “Is supper ready yet?” No, ...

More than the dogs can celebrate the days of August

Let me be the first to wish you a happy National Root Beer Float Day. What, you didn’t know? Probably not, if your wall calendar is like mine. August appears to be pretty bland in the holiday department. Blank, in fact. There’s nothing to do in August but melt. Not so, according to the ...

Burt says Burt can do this illeism thing as only Burt can

Burt read a report that illeism — that annoying trait of referring to oneself in the third person — might actually be healthy and beneficial. This is good news because until now, Burt thought it would be unhealthy to the extent that someone would slap him silly if he didn’t cut it ...

Sew, jest hau due ewe spill thet wurd, anyweigh?

I saw the most amazing thing on Facebook the other day. Under the photo of a cuddly kid, someone commented, “Aw.” Finally, someone got it right! “Aw,” as in “how cute,” is the interjection social media misspellers usually mean when they type “awe.” The noun “awe” depicts ...

Sew, jest hau due ewe spill thet wurd, anyweigh?

I saw the most amazing thing on Facebook the other day. Under the photo of a cuddly kid, someone commented, "Aw." Finally, someone got it right! "Aw," as in "how cute," is the interjection social media misspellers usually mean when they type "awe." The noun "awe" depicts an overwhelming ...

Hopeless millennial or a senior having moments?

I'm a lot younger than I feel. Or than the calendar claims I am. I chanced upon this happy news reading a newspaper article in which researchers rate millennials as hopeless when it comes to basic life skills. I thought I had life skills down pretty well. The truth is, I don't have life ...