Chocolate is always the answer

Burt's Eye View

I squinted at the small print and bellowed. “Who shrunk my book?”

I focused on the usual suspect. “Terry, did you run my favorite book through the wash?”

My wife rubbed her temples. She does that a lot, for some reason. “Why would you think I’d run a load of books through the laundry?”

I flapped the novel at her. “The type is tinier than it used to be.”

“It looks the same to me,” she said.

“No, it’s not. When I bought this volume 30 years ago, the letters were huge.” I drew the book close until my nose nearly touched the open page. “Now I have to take off my bifocals and smother myself to see the print.” I groaned. “I loved this collection. Now I can barely read it.”

“So that must mean…”

“It means,” I said, “that someone tampered with it. I’m guessing you ran my book through the wash and it shrunk, just like my pants did.”

Terry dug at her temples again. “Your pants did not shrink. And I don’t launder books. There are logical explanations to both, if you’ll think a moment.”

I thought a moment. My eyes narrowed. “Are you calling me old and fat?”

“I said nothing of the sort. But if the blue jeans don’t button…”

I tugged the glasses off my face and studied them. Blurry. “I guess it has been a couple years since I had my eyes checked.”

“Almost a dozen,” she said.

“I suppose vision fuzzes a bit over time,” I said. I poked my glasses back into place and sighed. “Is this the part where you tell me to eat more carrots?”

“Nope. Better,” she said.

“What? Radishes? Rutabaga?” A horrible thought washed over me. “Please tell me it’s not beetroot.”

“No, no and no,” she said. “It’s chocolate.”

Terry whisked a newspaper off the washer. I thought she meant to launder it next. Instead, she pointed to a delicious headline: “Study says dark chocolate sweetens vision.”

I snatched the paper. Squinched my eyes. And handed the paper back. “Can you, uh, read it to me?”

Terry read. “Studies already have proved that a daily dose of dark chocolate lowers blood pressure, stabilizes cholesterol and improves blood flow to the heart and brain so that both function better.”

I nodded. “Another study said chocolate helps you lose weight.”

“Not when it’s in the form of two dozen chocolate chip cookies. Ask your snuggy jeans,” Terry retorted. “Anyway, it says here that Dr. Jeff Rabin and researchers from the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio found that people who took a vision test two hours after eating dark chocolate scored better in high-contrast visual acuity and contrast sensitivity — specifically small-letter contrast sensitivity.”

“Like the itty-bitty type in my shrunken book,” I said.

So once again, chocolate is the answer.

“OK, but let me ask you one thing,” I said. “Are you sure you didn’t run my novel through the laundry.”

Terry dug her knuckles into her temples. “I need chocolate. Now!”

As anyone can see, chocolate’s always the answer. Except maybe about why the washer shrunk my pants.

— Exchange dark chocolate recipes with Cole at, on the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook or @BurtonWCole on Twitter.