Cole’s cold and coughing leads to column malfunction

Editor’s note: Burt is experiencing a head cold malfunction. While he’s busy coughing and sneezing, we present the Cole Classic from Feb. 8, 2004, written right after the infamous “wardrobe malfunction” Super Bowl and not too far removed from the “hanging chad” presidential election.

I wear sneakers to church.

It’s not because I’m so deprived of fashion sense that I think New Balance 855s are THE thing to wear with a suit jacket and tie.

It’s because I hate shoe shopping. So I kept trotting out the lone pair of dress boots I owned until the long-suffering souls finally severed their relationship with the simulated leather uppers, allowing gushers of slush to swirl up to my ankles.

It was a wardrobe malfunction.

(Note: I realize that the week-old catch phrase “wardrobe malfunction” has grown weary. But I am required by state and federal law as a fully licensed columnist to work “wardrobe malfunction” into at least one of these academic discourses. Besides, it has such a delightfully silly ring that just tickles the senses.)

When I got home that day of the great shoe malfunction, I tossed that part of my wardrobe into the trash can by the back door, where they landed with a satisfying splash.

I’ve worn my running shoes ever since.

I own only one suit jacket, the same one I’ve worn to church every Sunday the last five years. Sometimes I hang the jacket on the coat rack at the end of services. I have no plans to don it again until the next Sunday.

The easiest way to avoid a wardrobe malfunction is to function with a very small wardrobe.

Occasionally, complications arise. I get invited to some fancy affair and fail to think of excuses fast enough. Then I’m stuck shopping for new dress shoes. Possibly a jacket. And maybe something other than a T-shirt to wear with my tie.

It usually means visiting a mall or two, but I’m afraid to go after reading the latest oddity coming out of California.

Six Orange County malls installed voting kiosks. Between leaving Cinnabon and popping into FYE, shoppers can pause to cast primary election ballots. Really.

Registrar Steve Rodermund told The Associated Press that kiosks will be stocked with election workers to check voter signatures to make sure they match registration forms. He also said votes will be secure.

If the mall can keep Victoria’s secret, it can keep your ballot secret, too.

My fear is that voting kiosks will sweep the nation. Then somebody in Florida will install polling places too close to the video arcade. Then a surfer dude meaning to spend a few minutes blowing up space creatures accidentally will drop a game token into a voting machine, and our next president could be named either Mario or Sonic Hedgehog.

Talk about your Florida voting machine malfunctions. Plus, a button could pop on Mario’s overalls or the Sonic could blow out his sneakers to make it a … well, you know the phrase by now.

Or what if I find a nice pair of dress slacks, step into what I think is a changing room, hang my jeans on what turns out to be a voting lever, which casts a vote for who knows what, causing Howard Dean to whip back the curtain and yell?

No, I think we’ll all be happier if I keep wearing my old jacket and sneakers. It may constitute a severe wardrobe fashion malfunction, but there are worse things in life.

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


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