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Burton Cole column

Setting the world record for most naps taken

“My life has no meaning, no purpose,” I said. “I’ve been meaning to tell you, clean out your car,” my wife said. “What’s the purpose of all those receipts, napkins and batteries all over the floor?” I shook my head. “I’ve never done anything that makes people whisper, ...

What to write when there’s nothing left to write about

I rocked my easy chair up a smidge so that I could brush Pop-Tart crumbs off my belly. I didn’t want the strawberry filling to stain my favorite T-shirt, the one that proclaims: “Please don’t interrupt me while I’m ignoring you.” I cued another hand of spider solitaire on the laptop ...

Let the great philosophers of the ages help us through this

I’m fed up to the tippy-top of my mask (which I don’t wear because, you know, no place to go) with people ranting dire directions and worrisome warnings at me. I need wisdom — mixed thoroughly with wit and whimsy. I need insights from the great philosophers of the ages, such as Groucho ...

Trub the Lethargic wades in shallow pondering pools

Great people contemplate lofty concepts, complex equations and thoughtful immensities. Me, I ponder why I’m stuck with such an embarrassing dragon name. Scrolling through the social media posts a couple days ago when I should have been working, I happened upon these instructions: “Your ...

Pig pushes pandemic to pandemonium

In England, a pig pooped out a pedometer, which plunged four pens into flames. In North Wales, a gang of goats roams a seaside town. Peacocks parade along streets in Spain while pigeons promenade along the streets in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Mobs of monkeys have scampered into homes and even ...

That Nigerian prince wants to send me money again

I’ll say this about pandemic life — a strange new pestilence of ads and scams have pelted my email inbox. I’ve been smacked with so many offers for face masks resembling the hankies that the bandits wore in the old Westerns that you’d think I was planning to hold up the stage coach at ...

Lewis and Clark didn’t have it this rough when roughing it

We’ve been roughing it in the Cole household. First, the clothes dryer quit. Then the washing machine refused to finish another cycle. Next, the hot water heater — which had lasted three times its expected lifespan — hollered, “What more do you people expect from me?” It snuffed its ...

The honeymoon phase of quarantine appears to be over

Quarantine Diary, Day 1: “This is so wonderful.” Warm waves of love flowed from her embrace. “You’ll be home with me all the time.” I inhaled her fragrance. “We’ll be together all day every day.” Quarantine Diary, Day 3: “Should I thaw the sirloin or the swordfish for you ...

Even the mice understand the stay-at-home order

We ran barefoot that summer day at my cousin Dale’s farm. We were explorers or pirates or spies — I forget which — on a secret mission through the cow pasture. Why we were barefoot in a cow pasture, I don’t recall. Barefoot in a cow pasture is not the most intelligent choice a ...

Escaping chores spoiled by COVID-19

I’ve never gotten around to installing the baseboards in the living room. I meant to do that shortly after moving in — 20 years ago or so. You tend to notice subtle details like that working from home. “More like glaring,” my wife, Terry, said. “When are you going to put those ...

Cope with crazy coronaquips

Don’t bother busting out of quarantine — everything is shut down. All the toilet paper’s been hoarded, so I hope you found fast-food napkins stashed in your glove box. Remember the relief when you knew you’d never again have to diagram a sentence or multiply fractions? Yeah, well, ...

I have a lot to do … it’s time for bed

“What’s that quote about distractions?” she asked. “Something about monsters and bugs.” I picked up my smartphone — actually, I already was holding it; the thing seems to be stuck to my palm — and tapped the screen. “Life is a hailstorm of distractions. It’s not the monster ...

I promise to love, honor and confuse

Marriage is the match of two people who promise to confuse each other for the rest of their lives. Hardly a day goes by without Terry and I heaping such blessings upon each other. We’re marriage experts. “Why is there an empty pickle jar in the refrigerator?” Terry yelled. “I left it ...

The great philosophers of the world think of March

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” No, wait. Wrong Charles Dickens quote. Or possibly not. I tend to mildly mangle all those quotes about the month of March. The first one I learned was pinned in construction paper letters on a bulletin board in the Monroe Elementary ...

Residential stability allows feeble and ugly furniture to breed

The stability of life has overcrowded my house. Decades ago, I lived a migratory life. Every three years, I uprooted my belongings and set off for a new apartment or a different rental shack. Every three years, I shoved boxes, bags and trunks into one of two conveyances — a truck or a ...

The truth about monkeys, iguanas and bathtub gin

The great philosopher Mark Twain once penned, “Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.” Here are several real-life oddities I discovered perusing the unvarnished truth the last couple of months. * When the village of ...

If you can hear this, quit sending me earwax ads

Like most aggravations, this one is my wife’s fault. Whoops, that didn’t come out right. I am so going to hear about this. Or maybe not. That’s how the problem started. Terry’s such a soft talker that I miss the occasional word or two. “It’s not occasional,” she signaled with ...

Living with antiquities, rarities and vintage whatzits

I grew up in a museum. I didn’t know it was a museum. No one ever stopped for a tour. If they had, we boys would have trundled them to the barn, handed them pitchforks and told them the interactive exhibit began behind the cows. Kids can be creative when it comes to getting out of ...

Cole gains force field against stupidity

The more I age, the more my immunity to peer pressure matures. It’s like gaining a force field against stupidity. Oh, sure, I still do plenty of stupid things. My wife keeps a catalog of them. I am still a guy, after all. It’s just that when I do stupid things now, it’s because I want ...

Grumpy Grammar Guy begs you: Stop abusing apostrophes

As a recovering copy editor, few things get my goat as much as the misplaced apostrophe. Walk down any street in the U.S. of A. and you’re likely to see signs like these: • Professional Sign’s & Lettering • Fried Oreo’s • Valentine gift idea’s • Radiator Cover’s Made ...