All of my brothers are colorblind, as are all my sister’s sons. Eight percent of the world’s male population is colorblind, which means there are more than a quarter billion of us out here. I write on their collective behalf, as well as on behalf of my colorblind niece and my two female cousins who are also colorblind.
This morning, as part of my preparations to spend six weeks in the rainy Cascade mountains this fall during my sabbaticalI, I ordered a pair of hiking pants from Columbia. These are the pants you should wear under your rain pants, I’m told. The particular trousers I wanted to purchase came in four colors: tusk, gravel, grill and delta.
I never graduated from the eight-pack of Crayola Crayons to the seventy-two pack that was such joy to my sister. One doesn’t need violet when one will never see purple.
Tusk? If I knew what color a tusk was, I wouldn’t need to read the label. It’s probably a cute descriptor for those who can look at the photograph and tell that “tusk” is really tan. I can’t do that.
I got into trouble in first grade because I colored all the faces in a worksheet green. Back then I thought that green was to skin as violet is to purple—close enough for school work. Later in life I got into trouble as a college frosh when I attempted to purchase gray trousers. Just to be safe, I asked the sales clerk what color they were, and he said, “I’d call those salmon.” I figured that salmon was a fish, and that fish were silver, and that silver was a type of gray. Right? I wore those salmon trousers to chapel the following morning.
Enough! I’ve decided to get radical about this, and will be sending a link to this blog to Columbia. I have purchased my last pair of gravel pants. Ever.
Journal of Natural Hist. Ed.
Natural History Institute
Center for Humans & Nature