Don’t look now, but here’s a guy who notices things

Burt's Eye View

I don’t know if it’s a terminal case, but I’m turning into a guy who notices things. A light bulb that needs to be changed. A change of hairstyle. My socks on the floor …

It frightens me. Guys noticing things just isn’t done.

A few years back, Terry moved my car keys. I panicked. I was late, I needed to leave NOW, and I COULD NOT find my car keys ANYWHERE.

“They’re right here,” she said, plucking them from the peg a full half inch from where I left them. “Oh, and that hat you couldn’t find — it’s right there, where I told you it was.”

“You moved my stuff.”

“I organized your mess,” she said.

“Well, I couldn’t see it.”

“Of course not,” she sighed. “Men never do.”

It’s not that we don’t want to pay attention. We’re built that way. A study led by Brooklyn College psychology professor Israel Abramov proved that. I’d read the paper to you, but my wife straightened up my desk, and, well …

I recall that the study theorizes that men and women are wired with the abilities that matched their prehistoric roles.

Men display “significantly greater sensitivity for fine detail and for rapidly moving stimuli” because prehistoric hunter guys had to detect possible predators or prey, and know which was which, from afar.

This is why men can’t find the ketchup even though his spouse specified top shelf on the refrigerator door, but a guy’s tunnel vision will zero in on a bounding buck at 300 yards and know the number of antler points even though the venison was visible for a mere 1.3 seconds.

Women as gatherers, according to the study, developed a much better eye for up-close, unmoving necessities, such as nuts and berries, including distinguishing itty-bitty differences in hues and textures that revealed which were ripe for the stone slab dinner table.

Cavemen couldn’t be trusted with that task: “Move, Og! You’re squishing the berries!”


“Between your toes.”

Og’s eyes narrowed. “Say, Uga, that’s a mighty fine saber-tooth bunny that just dashed behind the thistle on that third mountain peak past the river. See it?”

Uga threw up in her hands. “You’ll never evolve into anything useful.”

For years, my tunnel vision focused perfectly. On drives, Terry would ask, “What do you think of that shade of periwinkle on those shutters?”

I had no clue. If the house didn’t block my lane, I wouldn’t see it.

Then it happened. One day, my head snapped toward a pasture whizzing by on her side of the car. “What a pretty brindle horse.” My head whipped to the left. “Ol’ Jones better excavate around that foundation. It’s bowing pretty badly, especially on the west corner.”

Terry stomped the imaginary brake on her side of the car. “Watch the road! You nearly hit the goat grazing in the ditch!”

I twisted. “Where? Hey, what kind of flowers are those by the pond with the blue-winged teals?”

“Truck!” She yelped.

A quick yank on the wheel and we missed it completely.

“Only by a half inch,” she gasped. “That’s it. I’m hiding your car keys where you’ll never find them — next to the ketchup.”

That’s what happens to a guy who notices things. I sure hope I recover.

— Prescribe treatments at burtseyeview@tribtoday.com, the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook or at www.burtonwcole.com.


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