I finally uncovered one of the deep mysteries of life. Men are not insensitive and uncaring, despite popular opinion to the contrary. 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.
The revelation of this males-only impairment came to me, if you haven’t already guessed, while standing with my wife in the paint department of the local Home Depot store on a Saturday morning. (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 a can of paint for the walls of one of our bedrooms. My wife kept displaying paint samples before me and asking Eastern mysticism riddles, such as, “Which shade do you think is softer, the ‘Saint Martin Sand’ or the ‘Oklahoma Wheat’?”
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! They’re all tan!” I finally settled for my standard response: “Doesn’t matter to me, Honey. Choose whatever you like.”
In my mind I was being very prudent and wise by deferring the final decision to an expert. In a certain someone else’s mind, however, I was being insensitive and uncaring because I wouldn’t study the hundreds of subtle shading nuances before assisting in 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, and white.
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. And no tan.
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. However, men cannot notice the difference unless the colors are side-by-side, for example, if the Yankees play the Dodgers in the World Series and the Commissioner of Baseball decides 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 should be more understanding. She shouldn’t put such pressure on me, especially in a public place.
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 paint department of Home Depot stores. Instead, he should take two doses of televised team sports and call me in the morning.”