Columnist crams old box with recipes for chuckles

Burt's Eye View

Burton Cole

There’s an old, battered recipe box on my desk. It’s crammed with index cards, torn strips of newspaper and scraps of scribbled paper.

These are odd thoughts I’ve scrawled in the middle of the night and silly stories that tickled my funny bone. When I’m running low on laughs, I rummage through the contents. All the ingredients are there to cook up at least a chuckle or two.

Here’s a sampling of musings jammed into the recipe box:

* One of the most irritating things a young child can say is, “Mommy doesn’t do it that way.” Or at my age, “Grandma says no person should ever do that. Why aren’t you as smart as Grandma?”

* Why does my wife swoon over the beauty of nature outdoors but nearly faint when I tramp a tiny bit of the charm inside? It’s the same gorgeous soil, twigs, stones and toads that she gushed over minutes earlier when she saw them out there.

* Then there was that time we sat at an elegant dinner with friends when their young son plopped a plastic cage next to the spaghetti and said, “Is he dead or what?” Some gentle jostling and the threat of making another meatball proved that the salamander still lived. But not before our hostess’ face turned as red as the tomato sauce.

* Only grandmothers buy Play-Doh for the kids. Moms can only think of how many weeks it took to get all the colorful chunks of dried gunk out of the carpets, clothes and oatmeal (don’t ask) the last time.

* Too many sick days are wasted on illnesses. I finally get extra time at home, but instead of tackling those long-neglected projects, I end up in in bed. If I’m just going to sleep, I might as well go to work.

* In 1995, Chicago Tribune columnist Mike Royko observed that he and his wife have different definitions of saving money. He thought it meant an interest-bearing account or at the very least, stuffing cash under a mattress. But she loads up on clothing and appliances at a half-price sale and declares, “Oh, did I save us a lot of money today.” Mike said he didn’t know saving tons of money could send him to the poorhouse.

* I’m probably the only guy who had to siphon water out of his car’s headlights at regular intervals, particularly after a heavy rainfall. Despite my lack of mechanical abilities, I finally managed to fix the problem: I traded it in on another car.

* Studies show that in most American households, men channel surf and women thermostat surf.

* Parenting dilemma: Whose kid is that? If he or she is misbehaving, the brat’s yours; if the child just cleaned his or her room without being asked, the angel obviously takes after me.

* When the family gathers around the refrigerator to see the ice maker churn, it probably means our social life is suspect.

* Mark Twain once observed that we must use caution when reading books about dieting lest we die of a misprint.

* Probably the most dangerous type of worm in all the world is the ear worm. I once had the Barney song stuck in my brain for three years before finally getting rid of it. … Nuts. There it goes again. Why did I read that card in my recipe box?

And that’s enough baking for today.

— Share cards from your recipe box with Cole at burtseyeview@tribtoday.com, on the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook or @BurtonWCole on Twitter.