Matter of Laugh or Death
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
COLOR MY WORLD
I finally uncovered one of the deep mysteries of life. Men are not—despite popular opinion to the contrary—insensitive and uncaring. The problem with men is that our brains can only recognize eight different colors. We cannot handle anything more than the basic, Kindergarten-issue Crayola 8-pack.
Women, on the other hand, are just getting started with the Deluxe Crayola 96-pack (with a crayon sharpener built into the box). A woman’s brain can easily recognize hundreds of subtle shading nuances of each major color, which is why the paint and wallpaper options in the houseware section of Home Depot stores are seemingly endless.
The revelation of this males-only impairment came to me, if you haven’t already guessed, while standing in the houseware section of a Home Depot store. On a recent Saturday morning, a pathetic and painful scenario once again took place in Aisle 76-B. (I believe Home Depot’s corporate motto is: “And you thought Disney World was the largest and most crowded place on earth!”)
Our mission was simple: purchase paint and new curtains for my daughter’s bedroom. However, my wife and daughter were obsessed, for some unfathomable reason, with my opinion. They kept displaying paint samples before me and asking Eastern mysticism riddles, such as, “Which shade do you think is softer, the Robin’s Egg or the Montana Sky?”
I wasn’t sure how to respond. My first impulse was to blurt out, “How can a color be soft?” My second impulse was to say, “Every one of those rectangular color samples is identical!” I finally settled for my standard response: “Doesn’t matter to me. Choose whatever you like.”
In my mind I was being very prudent and wise by deferring the final decision to the experts. In their minds, unfortunately, I was being insensitive and uncaring because I wouldn’t study the hundreds of subtle shading nuances before making the final decision.
But it’s not my fault. It’s genetic. A man can only tell the difference between the following colors: blue, red, green, yellow, orange, purple, brown, white and black. (OK, so it’s a total of nine. The Crayola 8-pack doesn’t include white since kindergarteners typically color on white paper and if there was a white crayon in the box, little five-year-old boys would get so confused and frustrated trying to color white-on-white they would begin to cry and wet their pants. The little five-year-old girls, of course, would simply ask the teacher for some blue paper and begin to color hundreds of subtle shading nuances of white clouds.)
I think it has something to do with televised team sports. The Yankees wear blue and white. The Red Sox wear red and blue. The Celtics wear green; the Lakers blue and yellow; the Chicago Bulls red and black; the Minnesota Vikings purple and yellow; the Cleveland Browns orange and brown. Simple, basic, no-subtle-shading-nuanced team colors.
Only one color, blue, has variations that men can notice. The Yankees wear dark blue; the Dodgers wear medium blue; and the University of North Carolina basketball team wears light blue. Men cannot notice the difference unless the colors are side-by-side, for example, if the Yankees played the Dodgers in the World Series and the Commissioner of Baseball decided to use UNC basketball players as umpires.
No other basic color has dark, medium, or light variations (at least that men can detect). A particular color either is, or it isn’t. Someone may say that red has different variations. But of course, that’s false since light red is really pink, and as we all know, pink is prohibited by the U.S. Constitution from being used as a team sport uniform color.
Instead of accusing me of being insensitive and uncaring, my wife and daughter should be more understanding. They shouldn’t put such pressure on me, especially in a public place. As they pressed me for an answer in the crowded houseware section, I finally got so confused and frustrated I began to cry and wet my pants. My wife said, “You’ll do anything to avoid making a decision, won’t you?” The public address speaker said, “Leonard, clean-up in Aisle 76-B—and bring a mop.”
I hope medical researchers will study this syndrome. Maybe they will label it Chromatic Arrested Disorder, or CAD for short. (Doctor: “I’m sorry to tell you this, Mrs. Dunn, but the tests reveal that your husband is a CAD.” My wife: “Tell me something I don’t already know.”)
At least I’ll be able to get an official doctor’s note: “Bill is not allowed to enter the houseware section of Home Depot stores. Instead, he should take two doses of televised team sports and call me in the morning.”
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