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Science says men do stupid things to have good story

Burton Cole

Never ask a man how he got that scar.

Not because it’s impolite. But because he’ll tell you. Repeatedly. In glowing, gory detail after detail after detail. The only relief from total monotony is that the stories usually improve over the years — the alley cat morphs into a mountain lion, the fish hook grows into a machete or the mere scratch becomes a near triple amputation.

Bored researchers summarized all those stories into this: There is strong scientific evidence that men do stupid things so they have a good story to tell.

“… Well, I didn’t know the thing was still plugged in. I guess I shoulda looked. Or left the safety guard on. Anyway, I reached right in there when Buck bumps into the switch, and you never heard such screeching. I screeched a little, too. And…”

Without doing stupid things, all you can contribute when swapping tales is the time you slopped Cap’n Crunch on your tie. Not even the fact that your wife just dry-cleaned it can make that story exciting enough.

My scars come from the time I plunged into a bush while taking a shortcut when running in the dark. As stories go, it lacks pizzazz — although I suspect if I retell the story enough times over the years, I’ll recall that a bear was snapping at my heels and what I mistook for a small bush was a wall of thorns.

What remains constant is that a good story is always preceded by a bad decision. And a bad decision is always preceded by fateful words such as these:

“I’ve been thinking…”

“Dare me?”

“My wife won’t mind.”

“Oh, yeah? Watch this.”

“Give it a try. If it doesn’t work, we’ll always think it should’ve.”

“Hold onto all four corners of this bed sheet when you jump, and you’ll float gently to the ground.”

“Say, that’s a cute little raccoon raiding my garbage can. I think I’ll take him inside.”

“Hand me the other end of the jumper cables. It’s black on positive, right?”

“I know a shortcut.”

“Here, let me rinse the crumbs off the toaster.”

“Nope, it’s not the pants. What makes your butt look big is…”

“Anyone could outrun that sleepy old bull.”

“You won’t feel a thing.”

“Nah, that’s not the poisonous kind. Go ahead.”

“Sure, I can clear that barbed-wire fence.”

“Hey, you want to see an explosion?”

“Aw, anybody can spin plates on a stick. Pass the broom and that antique bowl over there and I’ll show you.”

“Sure, I can jump the creek. Help me build a ramp.”

“That fence doesn’t look electrified.”

“Those leftover parts? Your car doesn’t need them. Go ahead and turn the key.”

“What happens when you push this button?”

“Jump! I’ll catch you.”

“You call that a burger? Watch this.”

“We ought to fill the blender with marbles, turn it on and see what happens.”

“Those maximum load warnings don’t mean anything. I bet we can stack it three rows higher. Bring the ladder.”

“I’d been meaning to replace that rung.”

“Of course it’ll float. I built it myself.”

“What could go wrong?”

“Oops.”

“Run!”

Recount your scar stories at burtseyeview@ tribtoday.com, the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook or @BurtonWCole on Twitter.

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