Confusion sets in as smartness fades in the twilight

Burt's Eye View

I used to believe that I was intelligent.

In elementary school, I was considered the smartest kid in the building. The teachers nicknamed me The Little Old Man. My classmates gasped if I gave a wrong answer on a quiz.

But like so many other childhood traits, my brilliance wore off. The needle on the brain gauge that used to peg the “Full” now tickles the “Empty” mark.

In short, I’m confused.

For example, I don’t understand how closets work.

It’s the place where you jam everything when company’s coming – I get that. But how is it that when it’s time to pull the stuff back out, there’s always three times more there?

And have you noticed how closets shrink shirts and tighten pants? It fits when you hang it up, but the next time you go to wear it, snugness has set in. I’m guessing the closet is equipped with magnetic rays or tractor beams or pixie dust, something along those lines.

My wife proposed another theory too wild to consider. I dismissed it.

Still, to humor her, I gave up sugared drinks and my twice-daily romps through the fast-food drive-thru on the theory that maybe french fries breath excites the closet’s shrink gas. Now, a couple months later, that practical-joker closet is causing clothes to grow. Some of the shirts and pants are downright baggy.

I wouldn’t have given up my Coke and cookies had I known the closet was to fix my wardrobe.

My wife proposed another theory too wild to consider. I dismissed it.

This is what I mean about my whiz losing its bang. I don’t understand closets, and I can’t calculate proper timing anymore.

Few things make me more nervous than visiting someone whose first name is “Doctor.” It probably started when I was 4 and the family physician’s answer to everything was “A shot of penicillin in the butt with my ginormous needle ought to cure that.”

“But, Mr. Doctor, I only came in to tell Mommy that Daddy’s here to pick her up.”

I put off going to the doctor as long as possible, hoping ailments will go away on their own. I can never time it right.

I tried to hold out when I hurt my back a couple of weeks ago. My wife finally made me see the chiropractor. Wouldn’t you know it, the very next day, my back problems began clearing up on their own.

“This always happens,” I told Doctor Chiro. “No matter how soon or how long I wait, I’m always here the day before the thing rights itself.”

The doctor proposed another theory too wild to consider. I dismissed it.

There’s so much more I can’t comprehend – why round pizza comes in a square box; why laughing cows don’t sneeze milk; why I push the buttons harder when the battery’s dead; why cartoon characters always wear the same clothes; and why some kids wear their pants with the waistbands around their knees (their closets stretched them, probably).

I used to be a scholar. But I’ve watched my grades slip from an A to a B to a C to a D to an Hey, what happened to E?

I miss being intelligent.

—- Meet Burt and other authors from northeast Ohio from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Oct. 1 at the Ashtabula County District Library Author Expo at the Ashtabula Library. Or contact him at or on the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook.