You’re not my mom (huff); I can do it myself

Burt's Eye View

I pout when my wife treats me like I’m a 6-year-old boy.

She stops me every morning when I head for the door. “That shirt’s wrinkled. How did it get so wrinkled?”

I shrugged. “I dunno. I didn’t touch it after I ‘hung it up’ on the floor a couple days ago.”

Terry fixes me with that look. “Don’t you have anything else? On a hanger in your closet? Maybe something that matches those pants?”

I stomp my foot. “I work at a newspaper, not a TV station. Nobody cares if I wear wrinkles. Or mix stripes and plaids.”

“I care. I don’t want anyone thinking I dressed you that way. Go change.”

Eight grumbles, six mutterings, three huffs and a kicked door frame later, I make a run for the back door again. And get stopped again.

“Your shirt’s lopsided. Why can’t you ever button properly?” She starts unbuttoning and rebuttoning my front.

I stick out my tongue and spout, “I can do it myself.”

“Obviously not. Hold still.”

“I’m a fully overgrown man in my mid-60s, not a little boy of 6 1/2.”

“They’re pretty much the same thing. Stop wriggling.”

It’s time to take grownup action: “Stop touching me or I’m telling!”

“Telling whom? The cat?”

I crossed my arms over empty button holes. “I’ll call my mommy. So there.”

“Your mother is the person who warned me to always check your shirts before you leave the house.”

Mom lives nearly two hours away, but she still checks my shirt buttons every time I show up at her house. “You never could get the hang of using the right button holes.”

On it goes. Terry reties my shoes, pulls the bottoms of my pant legs out of the tops of my shoes, tugs at the bunched-up shirt folds above my belt and straightens my shoulders — all things I could do myself. If I cared about any of them.

“If you didn’t go around looking like a 6-year-old who dressed himself, I wouldn’t have to treat you like a 6-year-old.” She pauses for inspection. “You’ve got a smudge on your face. Let me get that.”

I duck and cover. “No, I’m too old for mother’s spit.”

“I’m not licking my fingers,” she said. “I’m using a washcloth. Now hold still.”

I grimace as she scrapes the smelly rag across my cheek. “Hey, we’re in the kitchen. That’s the dish cloth. You just cleaned the frying pan with that.”

“If you had washed your face the right way, this wouldn’t happen.”

I grip the door knob. “Leggo. I gotta get to work.”

“Remember to brush the snow off the car windows this time. ALL of the snow. From ALL of the windows.”

“You can’t make me.”

She glared. With that look. You know the one. The Mom Squint.

“All the snow. All the windows. Right. Got it.” I ran out the door.

“Where are your gloves? Put them on.”

I don’t know how to prove to her that I’m not a baby. I stomp, I pout, I whine, I stick out my tongue — all the usual things to show my maturity and ability to handle adult situations. She misreads them all.

No fair! I’m a grownup now. I can do whatever I want!

Uh-oh. Can’t stay and play with you any longer. I gotta go clean my side of the room. If I do, maybe I won’t have to eat my beets.

• Play with Burton “Peter Pan” Cole at burtseyeview@tribtoday.com, the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook or at www.burtonwcole.com.


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