Dr-Fix-It! Notebook Archive:
True Colors . . .
I am one of those men who can't tell color. Don't get me wrong: I am not color blind. I can see every shade of color, I just can't TELL you about it. And you can't TELL me. Don't even try. I can't tell color. I refuse.
I don't know what color 'Mauve' is and I don't care to. That goes for 'Taupe', 'Twilight', 'Autumn Sunrise', 'Fuchsia', 'Mai Tai' and millions of other color names. I have a basic palette of color names that suits me just fine.
Most women and all interior decorators regard my simple color scheme with condescending pity. "How sad", they say, "Doc doesn't know the difference between 'Kauai Jungle' and 'Thunder Bay' ! The poor man lives in a colorless world".
To which I reply, "Donkey Doo". I can see and appreciate all those colors. I can discern the difference. I just refuse to label any color using some vague adjectival phrase or pompous literary contrivance. After all, we are describing a color; not a memorable experience or an exotic sensation. A COLOR!
The other day, I stopped for a moment to chat with Shawn, a co-worker. He was very excited about his latest purchase. "I signed papers on a new car yesterday," Shawn beamed, "The dealer is getting it ready and I am going to take delivery this afternoon!" Naturally, the ensuing conversation covered all the pertinent points; Make, Model, Body Style, Engine, Transmission, Gadgets and, of course, Color. "I really like the color", Shawn continued, " It is 'Amazon Mist' ."
I shook my head, " I have no clue what color 'Amazon Mist' is . . ."
Shawn helpfully explained, "Well, I would say it is halfway between 'Pell Green' and 'Hunter Green'. It's a really pretty color !"
This is what I mean about telling color. Almost nothing Shawn said made any sense to me. When Shawn said, "halfway between 'Pell Green' and 'Hunter Green' ", I heard, "blah blah blah blah blah GREEN blah blah blah GREEN". I can't tell color.
Oh, I know what color GREEN is and now I know that Shawn's new car is some shade or variant tone of the color green. But, I don't care to assign a name like 'Amazon Mist' to a certain shade of green. That just opens the floodgates to wwwaaayyy too much information. Infinite information I neither need nor want in my finite brain.
For instance, add one drop of blue to 'Amazon Mist'. You have made another color - maybe 'Amazon Drizzle'. As we go across the spectrum, you could make endless variations of the same color: from 'Amazon Sunshine' through 'Partly Cloudy Amazon Day' to 'Looking Somewhat Ominous in The East Over The Amazon Today' beyond 'Forecasting 60% Chance of Amazon Rain' until we reach the darkest possible shade; Perhaps "A Midnight Typhoon over an Amazonian Black Hole".
No, I'll bide my time until Shawn drives his new car to work. Then, I will see first-hand what shade of green it is. Until then, the description 'GREEN' will suffice. - for me.
Take one trip down the paint aisle at the local Mega Lowest Home Headquarters and you will be forced to agree there are too many color names. Every paint manufacturer has different titles for the same colors. To add to the confusion, celebrities and famous fashion designers are cashing in with gaudy displays where they showcase 'their' colors as if they invented them.
Even if I had the nerve to claim a group of colors as my own, I doubt that my 'designer' colors would sell very well. First, I don't have a high-profile name necessary for celebrity endorsement. And second, 'my' colors are ones that you might already be familiar with. 'Red' is one. 'Yellow' is another. 'Blue' rounds out the list.
Although some color purists will argue that 'White' and 'Black' are not really colors, I include them in my 'designer' color palette because . . . well . . .I CAN. It's MY palette. If you don't think 'Black' and 'White' belong, then start your own 'designer' color palette.
In my 'designer' color palette, I have carefully chosen some very glamorous names for different shades and tones. I call my 'Reddish-Yellow', 'Orange'. I call my 'Blue-Yellow', 'Green'. How about 'Brown' for 'Green-Red'? Catchy! Do you like 'Purple' for 'Red-Blue' ? Not bad! Mix 'Black' and 'White' and get 'Gray'. Hold on! I'm on a roll!
For convenience, I allow metallic colors in my palette. 'Copper' is distinctive. 'Chrome' is too. I can't tell the difference between 'Bronze' and 'Brass' but I can't decide which one to delete. So, I'm keeping both of them for now. The same goes for 'Steel' and 'Tin' as well as 'Iron' and 'Pewter'.
Earth tones? You Bet! Put a smidgen of 'Brown' in your 'White' and we have 'Off-White'. Keep adding brown and the Earth Tones multiply: A dark 'Off-White' is 'Tan' and a dark 'Tan' is a 'Light-Brown'.
Oh sure; I admit that some specialized color names that have crept into my vocabulary over the years. Mostly out of necessity, I can recognize 'Olive Drab', 'Fire-Engine Red', 'Aqua', 'Slate', 'Mahogany', 'Blaze-Orange', 'Rusty', and even 'Cream'.
But, if you ever hear me earnestly describe any color as 'Hillsborough', 'Avalon', 'Deckhand' or 'Amethyst', kindly instruct the attending physician to pull the plug and put me out of my misery. I have obviously lost my mind . . . umm. . .gray matter.