I, Burton Cole, being of sound Secret Squirrel mind…
Burt's Eye View
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 suspect otherwise when you write all your legal documents on Cap’n Crunch stationery. With a watermelon-scented pink marker.
But I consider it abnormal when alleged adults don’t keep cans of Play-Doh in their desk drawers and issues of Donald Duck at their bedsides. What’s the point of being a grownup if it didn’t mean you couldn’t play with toys and read comic books whenever you wanted to? That’s the standard that I believe should determine whether one is sound of mind.
Sadly, most of the world seems to think that a sound mind is not something a person carries in his head. It’s an app he carries on his smartphone.
Now that’s what I call crazy.
If I can remember where I left my cellphone, I’m easily stumped trying to figure out which button to push or what icon to swipe when the silly thing buzzes and burps.
But lodged somewhere inside that digital contraption lies most everything that’s supposed to constitute the soundness of my mind? Insane.
The other day, I stood in the middle of the dining room trying to remember if we have a calendar, and if so, where we might keep it. “How am I supposed to know what time to go to that stupid party if we don’t have a calendar?”
“I sent all the information to the calendar app on your smartphone,” my wife said.
I dug the phone out of my pocket and tried to remember if I was supposed to tap, push or swipe something. In only six or seven minutes, something resembling boxes of dates glowed from the screen.
“My Secret Squirrel Super Secret Decoder Ring I had as a kid was less complicated,” I groused to my wife. “Why don’t you just send me coded messages instead?”
I swished my finger across the onscreen calendar a few times. “What day is that stupid party? How am I supposed to find the time if I don’t know what date I’m supposed to poke?”
“It’s your birthday party. Surely you can remember your own birthday?”
“OK, fine, don’t tell me. I’ve got that stored, too, somewhere on this smarter-than-me-phone.”
“Here, I wrote it out for you.” She handed me a coded message. “Honestly, how can anyone in his right mind still rely on a cereal box tops Secret Squirrel decoder ring as the height of technology?”
“I write a newspaper column. Who says I’m in my right mind?”
I twisted the dials on my decoder ring, which is a lot easier than working smartphone apps. “Got it.” I tucked the date and time in the secret compartment.
“Say, it’s about time I wrote my last will and testament.” I reached for another sheet of Cap’n Crunch stationery.
“The kids don’t want your Secret Squirrel Super Secret Decoder Ring,” my wife said.
“No? Then obviously, they are not of sound mind. I’ll just take it with me.”
— Send Cole secret messages at firstname.lastname@example.org or on the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook.