You can learn a lot from a box of crayons - so I'm told.
In fact, I didn't know how many world philosophies were built around a box of Crayola 64's with the built-in sharpener. It's a bit unsettling, like when someone mixes the burnt orange with the magenta.
But it makes sense. Crayons are our first forays into the creative arts, meaning we're just making it up as we go.
I think we as adults would admit - during our nap times when our guard is down - that we're still a lot like the little kids we used to be. We're still trying to make sense of pages plopped on our table and coloring them in with the crayons we're dealt, even if no one's actually seen a mulberry puppy before.
There's something about opening a fresh box of crayons and inhaling the waxy scent of possibilities that starts a day right. Even the big tub where Mom pitched the broken, dull, paperless stubs held promise of discovery.
We begin our dangerous descent into the drudgery of adulthood when we trade our morning sniffs of crayons for sniffs of coffee.
In researching this column (what, you thought I made up EVERYTHING?), I was surprised at all the crayon quotes for living life scribbled on the walls. Here's a small sampling torn from my coloring book:
"If you want an interesting party sometime, combine cocktails and a fresh box of crayons for everyone." - Robert Fulghum.
"Never invest in any idea you can't illustrate with a crayon." - Peter Lynch.
"Artists are just children who refuse to put down their crayons." - Al Hirschfeld.
"Artists can color the sky red because they know it's blue. Those of us who aren't artists must color things the way they really are or people might think we're stupid." - Jules Feiffer
"Coloring outside the lines is a fine art." - Kim Nance.
"My childhood smells like a box of Crayola crayons." - Jessi Lane Adams.
"We could learn a lot from crayons; some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, while others are bright, some have weird names, but they all learned to live together in the same box." - Fulghum again.
I did learn a lot from crayons.
While it wasn't until later in life that I found out the melting point for a crayon is 120 degrees, I learned early from accidental experimentation that the clothes dryer is hot enough. I also learned that Mom's memory is long.
But I have yet to find out what a ''sienna'' is and who burnt it. And ''umber.'' I've never heard of the color umber outside of a Crayola box. I figured the person in charge of naming all the shades just ran out of ideas.
A flashier person is making up even crazier names now, such as jazzberry jam, inch worm and mango tango.
We had periwinkle, but that sounded like something a boy should avoid. Four decades later, I was married under the colors of periwinkle and cornflower. I thought they were blue and yellow. Why? Because I had descended dangerously close to growing up. I'd put away my Crayolas and neglected my education.
I am back. I am ready to lift the lid on a fresh pack of crayons and inhale the hues of possibilities.
Just one question - does the color ''razzmatazz'' look anything like ''umber''?
----- Color outside the lines on the Burton W. Cole fan page on Facebook by clicking on the link in the right column, or scribble to him at firstname.lastname@example.org