Burton Cole column

Sick days spoiled by upset tummy and queasy brain

I called off sick the other day. It was a horrible experience. Plus, I felt lousy. The worst thing about calling off sick when you actually are is feeling far too yucky to enjoy the yearned-for day off. The second-worst thing is that one’s brain tends to be as unreliable as a queasy ...

Critical spirit shows lack of critical sense

Some people get paid to be critics. The rest of us offer the service for free. It’s easy to do, because the less we know about a thing, the more confidently we can lecture someone else how to do it. This is why, for example, the people who know parenting the best are the critics who never ...

Everybody’s talking about the weather …

One of the greatest quotes ever uttered about life in northeast Ohio is this: “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes.” Never has a philosophical platitude proved to be so true. And perplexing. I am writing this column two hours after my wife and I took a lovely spring walk on ...

Brain fog’s morning musings

I am not at my mental best in the morning. Actually, I’ve never been at my mental best, but mornings rank even lesser best than my normal less best. See what I mean? It’s morning. Even if a proper thought tries to latch onto my brain, it slides off in the shower suds and gurgles down the ...

Ice cream: Science says it’s what’s for breakfast

I’ve championed ice cream for breakfast for years. “But why can’t I have a banana split this morning, Mom? Bananas are fruit. Ice cream’s got milk. Eggs, too, I think. And chocolate’s made from beans. It’s healthy.” “Shut up and eat your oatmeal, kid.” Mom wasn’t terribly ...

PA systems crackle memories of principal’s office

Before the PA system’s final crackle, I’d burrowed beneath the table. “Will Burton Cole please come to the front desk. Burton Cole, please come to the front desk.” I whimpered, and perhaps sucked my thumb a second or two. I might be 40 years removed from the cold, steel door of the ...

Not every dad has Powers

Today my dad celebrates his 82nd birthday, and I think it’s high time that he shared his greatest secret with me — Dad Powers. When I was kid, I couldn’t wait to grow into Dad Powers. My firstborn filled the crib with howls and giggles more than 28 years ago. Now she’s a fully ...

Senior discount doesn’t match how old he feels

It happened again. “That cost less than I expected.” The pretty young fast-food clerk never bothered to glance my way as she handed over the receipt. “Your order number is 22.” I slipped off my bifocals and squinted at the receipt to find the pricing error. There it was. The words ...

I’ve won! I think. What’s the Euro Lottery?

I’m thinking about retiring to a Caribbean island. It’s so within my price range — now that I’ve won the Euro Raffle. Does anyone happen to know how many Corvettes 2 million euros is worth? Anyway, I’m considering offering asylum on my island to the Nigerian ambassador who barely ...

Can’t do? Just make do

Making do is what I do best. I see no reason to bog myself down doing things the so-called “right way” when “making do” accomplishes the same thing with far less frustration. Besides, folks usually find fault no matter what. So if the easy road and the hard road both drive you to the ...

January filled with cake, squirrels, kazoos

If there ever was time for Ma in her kerchief and I in my cap to settle down for a long winter’s nap, it’s January. Unfortunately, my bosses — as so often occurs — hold a differing viewpoint. So I do my best to shrug off bed covers and doldrums and face January as if it were full of ...

I’m bugged by cures for the common cold

Nothing attracts a swarm of friends braced with sure-fire home remedies than the common cold. You can’t even sniffle without some junior scientist rushing to your side to test her latest concoctions and theories. “Quick, burn this turmeric and inhale the smoke. Clears those sniffles right ...

Sock it to the Christmas wish list

Merry Christmas! My wish for you is that as you read this, we both are wearing soft, warm socks that we plucked from beneath the tree this morning. That’s either a sign that I’ve learned a less materialistic meaning of Christmas or that I’ve given up on ever receiving the G.I. Joe “The ...

Santa Claus must really be a woman

My sister snatched away the fancy fork I’d been twirling on the table, refolded the green cloth napkin, and realigned the silverware into perfect rows, just like it had been when I ambled into her house. “Santa Claus has to be a woman.” I held the holly-rimmed water glass up to my eye ...

The secret password is… Feel free to drop in some money

I just want to pay my bills. But creditors refuse to take my money. Oh, not outright. They insist on a password. When we were kids, we built blanket forts in the living room and wouldn’t allow anyone to crawl in who didn’t recite the secret password. Twenty minutes later, the fort ...

Cole claims credit for the mannequin craze

The latest social media craze is the mannequin challenge. That’s when a cluster of people hold poses like statues while a person with a camera weaves around the bodies to post the tableau to Twitter or other social sites. It’s sort of like a giant game of freeze tag played by ...

Hey, Popeye, your spinach is spying on you

I always suspected health food was up to no good. It turns out it’s spying on you. MIT researchers announced a couple weeks ago that they engineered bomb-sniffing spinach plants. Researchers embedded sensors into the plants so that when the spinach roots detect chemicals used in land mines ...

I dunno, it’s nothing — why do you ask?

Is there any word lurking in the English language that’s more jam-packed, crammed and stuffed full of nuance, meaning and danger than the word “nothing”? Ask a 2-year-old what he’s up to and he will nothing you to death. You come home from work and find your spouse curled in a fetal ...

Sock it to me with theories

Despite how it appears, it’s not a conspiracy. The mystery of the missing sock, I mean. Feel free to keep claiming conspiracies for all that other stuff. I began pondering the age-old quest for missing socks the other morning when I saw a Tweet from my buddy Ed: “I literally can find one ...

Feeling fancy with cuff links, tie tacks and collars

Whatever happened to cuff links? They still exist. You can pay well more than $100 for a pair. (Or a mere $55 for a pair shaped like bacon and eggs — to wear during breakfast meetings, I presume.) But no one I know wears them. And I’m not allowed because they’re “fancy.” Cuff links ...