×

Burton Cole column

Introverts unite! Separately. At home. With a nice blanket.

My phone rang the other day. I held it in my hand and stared at the screen. “Aren’t you going to answer it?” my wife asked. “I... I...” I gulped. “No.” “You don’t recognize the number?” she said. “Sure. It’s Ralph. But I need at least 30 minutes to psych myself up to ...

The war wages for control of coveted thermostat

Terry snugged the hoodie around her head and burrowed her hands deep into the pockets of her quilted vest. “You look comfy,” I said as I zipped my parka and pulled on ski gloves. “It sure has gotten cold,” she said. Puffballs of steam rolled across the frigid air with every ...

Pogo and friends speak words of wisdom

“We are confronted by insurmountable opportunities.” So commented Walt Kelly, the genius behind “Pogo,” one of the all-time great newspaper comic strips featuring both satire and wordplay. Pogo Possum, Churchy LaFemme, Porky Pine and the rest of the Okefenokee Swamp gang butchered ...

When women get too big for Barbie, they look at you

Terry shook a bundle of clothes loose from the whopping plastic bag. “You wouldn’t believe the bargains I found at the rummage sale today.” I groaned. “How many times have I explained this? Buying a $20 shirt at 25 percent off doesn’t save you $5. It makes you spend $15 that could ...

Muttering through upper middle age

“Sweetie, can you come here a minute?” I think that’s what she said. The older my wife gets, the harder she is to hear. “Be right there.” I rocked my easy chair once, twice, three times. When I reached sufficient momentum for launch, I fumbled out of the old thing amid much ...

Pondering the imponderable

If Wile E. Coyote could afford all those rockets, anvils, skates, skis and cannons from the Acme Co., why didn’t he just order dinner? What would the speed of lightning be if it didn’t zigzag? By the way, what’s the speed of dark? How did that “Keep off the grass” sign get ...

October has much more to offer than Halloween

Oh, those crazy, hazy days of October silliness. Allow me to be the first to wish you a happy Mad Hatter Day! Now go do something silly. Mad Hatter Day isn’t marked on your calendar? You need a new calendar. The year is jammed full of weird, odd, unusual and otherwise quirky celebrations ...

Drive minus athletic ability equals disaster

When it comes to sports, I possess tons of competitive drive. But I misplaced my only ounce of athletic ability. In an elementary school football game, I was wide open for a touchdown pass. I ducked. On my junior high basketball team, I charged the lane and leaped. But I’d lost the ball ...

Running away as a grown up is just too much work

It’s been decades since I last ran away from home. I was 3. I wriggled through the tunnel my beagle burrowed under the backyard fence and set out to celebrate freedom with my cousins Dale and Gary. My career as a runaway thumped to an abrupt halt when my dad caught up to me on the tractor. ...

I do not think that word means what you think it means

I make my living building pictures with words. It’s an inexact science. Remember how in beginning wood shop you built a spice rack and someone said, “Oh, what a cute duck”? (There’s a reason I am not a carpenter.) Words can slap you with the same kind of disastrous results — ...

Cow therapy costs a lot of moola

People pay up to $300 to calm their nerves by cuddling with a cow just like that one over — LOOK OUT! Sorry. I’ve been a bit jittery around bovines since one jumped on me. It was at our farm, and teenage me bent over the watering trough to clean out floating bits of hay — cows are ...

I saw a man, he danced on an earworm with his wife

Among the greatest pestilences, plagues and pesky problems known to mankind — to womankind, too — is the earworm. An earworm is created when a bouncy song with lots of rhythmic repetition floats on the airwaves, gains too much altitude, freezes, and a chunk of the tune breaks off. ...

Bring back cereal prizes, and add a new Jeep for box tops

In the old days when I wanted a new car, I saved cereal box tops. Better yet, my new wheels came free inside the box. I was 8 years old and the cars fit in the palm of my hand, but let me tell you, that Monkeemobile was one sweet ride. “Here I come, drivin’ down the breakfast table...” ...

New Golden Buckeye seeks advice on becoming a geezer

The return address on the plain, white envelope was marked, “Ohio Department of Aging.” I opened it. “Congratulations!” the letter inside proclaimed. “You’ve joined the ranks of nearly 2.4 million Ohioans eligible for a Golden Buckeye Card.” My passport to geezerdom had arrived. ...

There’s no such thing as ‘just taking a walk’ when married

I once heard of a man who decided to take a walk, so he got right up and did so. That man was single. If you’re married with children, you never get right up and do anything. A simple act of going to the store for a loaf of bread takes on all the rigors, debates and sidetracks of a ...

Keep blood pressure down by pushing the serenity button

People keep telling me things I don’t want to hear. My blood pressure would improve to perfection if I had a human mute button. I’d call it the serenity button. I got the idea from my television. If a loudmouthed spokesman starts a commercial by yelling, “You’ll want to hear this!” ...

She says, he says: Delayed mommy brain or melting brain

The summer heat is melting my brain. “Have you noticed that I’ve been doing weird things lately?” I asked Terry the other day in the car. “No more (something, something) than usual,” my softspoken wife said. I twisted the volume knob. “Why did you (something, something) do ...

The older you start to get, the less things make sense

I am perplexed. Baffled, befuddled and buffaloed, too. I thought — to paraphrase the great philosopher Spider-Man — that with great age came great wisdom. The aging thing I’ve got. My Golden Buckeye Card will arrive any day and I’m only a couple years away from being legally eligible ...

Eye-opening childhood truths turn into messy myths

I hate it when truths that I hold to be self-evident turn out to be mere myths. It ruins my whole day. Did you know that maximum speed for a road runner is 20 mph while a coyote tops out at 43 mph? That means Wile E. Coyote could have caught the Road Runner without breaking a sweat — or any ...

I-llama-nating young grandson

A guy learns a lot having a 10-year-old grandson. Mostly, a guy learns that he can’t run, jump, climb or wrestle more than seven seconds without gasping, wheezing and collapsing. The second thing a guy learns is that he’s become horribly out of touch. I remember watching the Grammy Awards ...