Saturday, March 27, 2004

Dark, Medium, and Light

The azalea bushes are full of flowers in my yard and neighborhood this week. They are bursting with colors pinkish and reddish and everything in-between and closely-related. It’s great. It’s always a gorgeous world this time of year once the azaleas have started and before the flowers begin to fall like limp but colorful lettuce leaves to the ground below. The colors stay beautiful a while, even though the flowers look like layers of pastel mush plastered together on the ground.

I’m sure I wouldn’t know the names for all these colors. You know how men are about colors; we think there’s too many. Too many fine distinctions. We think 6 or 12 would be enough. Completely adequate for everyone except maybe a painter, someone working on the next Sistine Chapel. I found myself in a typically masculine hell recently when I was trying to select some colors for the tables in my Southern Exposure web page. They have more kinds of blue to choose from than I really want or can comprehend. They’re all nice, don’t get me wrong. And that whole long list of reds and greens look nice as well. I just can’t tell all of them apart. How different is dark blue from navy blue or either one from royal blue? Whatever happened to Dark, Medium, and Light? I don’t know about you, but My Crayon box wasn’t that big when I was a kid!

I was game, though, to pick through the color choices for my tables and even as I kept trying each shade of blue, I found that a little of each one went a long way. I won’t attempt to convey the different combinations I tried for fear of tripping over my tongue or over my own bad nerves. I may NEVER change any colors in that web page again, for fear I’ll have to spend endless hours again doodling with test after test of shade after shade, the whole of which just made me feel color-blind, clumsy, and nauseous. Just in passing, let me ask what the deal is on this multiplicity of purples and yellows? What’s a man to do with all THAT?! I don’t like to play Macho Man too much, and it’s not that I need to prove I’m not a woman (I have this beard, you see), but God Almighty, I can’t tell the difference! I LIKE the colors of women’s clothes, but I can’t be trusted to design, select, or describe them! I ask again whatever happened to Dark, Medium, and Light?!

To get back to the start of my simple story, though, if I tell you that the azalea bushes are drop-dead gorgeous right now, just smile and nod. Don’t ask me about the colors, I might have a nervous breakdown. Not a big one. Just a little one.

Chase after truth like hell and you'll free yourself, even though you never touch its coat-tails. -- Clarence Darrow

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