Burton Cole column

Science says guys lacking in senses of smell, hearing

She crossed her arms and wrinkled her nose. “Can you not smell THAT?” I reached for the remote and pushed mute. “What?” “That T-shirt you’re wearing.” “Old faithful? What about it?” She narrowed her eyes and coughed. “You heard me.” I shook my head. “You talk too ...

The price just went up on buying happiness

The price of happiness has gone up. Now it costs $95,000 a year. But be careful. Haul in more than $95,000 and you'll be just as miserable as the guy getting $20,000, but in a nicer car. That's the word from the financial planners at LearnVest, whose researchers crunched the numbers for the ...

Suffer as if living each day by distorted wise words

“Live each day as if it was your last,” the sage said. So I called off work. If I knew these were my last 24 hours on Earth, there’s no way I’d squander eight or 10 of them chained to a desk. With work out of the way, I hustled to a breakfast buffet and poured a gallon of sausage ...

Romance, thy name certainly is not Burt

Does any span of the calendar crush more spirits than Valentine’s week? Oh, sure, it’s meant to be a warm, fuzzy celebration filled with hearts, diamonds, balloons and roses. But for guys like me — the clueless kind — it’s just another painful taunting of romantic ...

Blame the oatmeal for eroding reading skills

Oatmeal is killing literacy. That’s my theory based on extensive breakfast research conducted at my house. I have reached that certain age when metabolism takes lots of naps and my body sounds like a Rice Krispies concert when I wake up. Snap, crackle, pop, groan. No longer can I wolf down ...

Reluctant adult packs up to run away from home

How old is too old to run away from home? I already slapped together peanut butter and strawberry jelly sandwiches. I stashed a few comic books in my knapsack. I pulled the blanket off my bed. I'm ready to go. Who knew this being an adult stuff was so wearying? OK, Mom and Dad said so. I ...

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 ...