Jumble of odd thoughts excavated from ill-advised cleanup

Burt's Eye View

Cleaning out the garage ranks as one of the most dangerous tasks a guy can do.

The temptation to tidy tingles when the garage reaches maximum capacity. Disrupting this delicate balance of clutter can bring the piles crashing down upon you, burying you in boxes you forgot to unpack when you moved in 20 or 30 years ago.

Worse, a cleaned garage with more than three square inches of room triggers expensive trips to hardware stores and attracts replacement junk from the house to fill the freshly opened space. Nature abhors a vacuum and garages detest an unjumbled surface.

So it was with chills of dread that I tackled this task the other day due to unforeseen circumstances (my wife insisted).

Among the relics I unearthed was a battered recipe box that I misplaced along about 1995 — my old Column Ideas File. I used to carry around note cards. Whenever a weird thought rattled my brain, I wrote it down and tossed it into the box so I could turn it into a column one day. Then I lost the box.

I pried open the file — or Burt’s brain, if you will — and perused the note cards of random thoughts. Here’s a smattering:

* Nail clippers make me squeamish. All I can figure is when I was a baby, my mom must have accidentally nipped off one of my fingers. But if my calculations are correct, all 10 digits are accounted for. She must have sewed it back on, which explains my fear of needles. I am OK with thread.

* Why do the styles that were so cool in the 1970s look so corny now? Elephant bell bottoms were the only thing that kept kids from teasing me about my big feet.

* There are two ways to do everything, my way and the way I do it if my wife is watching. My way is simpler and practical. Hers always looks neater but involves a lot more tedious and unnecessary detail.

* In the Dewey Decimal System, books on child rearing (649) are next to home pest control (648). Was this an editorial comment by Dewey?

* Being a guy, I don’t understand a woman’s pickiness when it comes to clothes. Being an adult, I have forgotten the complexities of youth. Put the two together and I seemed like a real doofus when my 9-year-old daughter couldn’t find anything to wear with her shirt.

* I was visiting a nursing home while a vocal group sang gospel songs. After “I’ll Fly Away” was followed by “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder,” I heard a woman grouse, “Are they trying to get us off to Heaven faster than we want to go?”

* Men have powers to see through dust, be it on glasses, TV screens or computer monitors. Women come behind them with a rag dampened with anti-static gunk and say, “How can you see through that filth?” The brightness afterward hurts our eyes. That’s why we wear sunglasses.

* When I want to protect important documents, I put them in my desk. Nothing that has gone in has ever come out. We used to have a St. Bernard. He wriggled into a desk drawer and hasn’t been seen since.

There were wads more of the note cards crammed into the Column Idea File but I had to return the box to its place in the piles. I didn’t want the garage to collapse.

— When he dares, Cole will share more thoughts from his Column Idea File. Find him at burtseyeview@tribtoday.com or on the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook.

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