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Redwood Falls Gazette - Redwood Falls - MN
  • Colorful writing about color

  • When was the last time you saw an avocado-colored popcorn popper?
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  • To women, there are 40 billion colors, with names like mauve, puce, chartreuse, teal, taupe, buff, auburn, tangerine, and avocado, coral, and champagne.
    To men, there are seven colors: red, blue, yellow, orange, purple, green, and brown.
    To them you can add black, white, the adjectives “light” and “dark”, and the suffix “-ish.”
    To translate lady colors to guy colors:
    • Teal: bluish-greenish.
    • Chartreuse: green-yellow.
    • Taupe: light brown.
    • Champagne: A sort of light brown, like taupe, that no champagne is colored in real life, and that somehow differs from taupe in a way only females can see.
    • Puce: dark red.
    • Magenta: dark pink. (Lightish, darkish red?)
    • Buff: white, but kind of a brownish version.
    • Tangerine: reddish orange.
    • Coral: Light reddish orangish.
    • Auburn: reddish brown.
    • Avocado: brownish greenish.
    • Mauve: You know that bruise you got after you whacked your ankle with that 16-pound bowling ball? That color.
    I do some painting on the side, and even with the name of the color printed right there on the tube in front of me (“Burnt Umber”), I still mentally have to translate it to “darkish brownish orangish” to know what’s inside.
    I’ve never understood why colors go in and out of style.
    Take avocado. It’s a perfectly decent color that’s been around for millions of years without a single change in its wavelength. Dinosaurs saw avocado-colored items, for crying out loud. I understand there’s even a vegetable that uses it.
    When I was in about fifth grade in the 1970s, avocado was the style. Countertops, shag carpets, towels — everything was the color of that gunk you dip corn chips into.
    Today? When was the last time you saw an avocado-colored popcorn popper?
    Everyone has an opinion about colors, and an even stronger one about how wrong other peoples’ color choices are.
    “Ewwwww! How could they paint their house that color?”
    “Navy? Oh, she looks awful in that color dress. What was she thinking?”
    Color styles are partly regional. When I lived in Oregon, half the houses in my neighborhood were just varnished wood. I got used to thinking natural wood-colored houses were the way God meant houses to be.
    Then I moved to Minnesota, and have seen six natural wood homes in the past 20 years.
    Then again, in Oregon I never saw a house painted pastel purple, or sea-green. Pastel homes? You just never saw it.
    Page 2 of 2 - When you’re five years old, knowing what your favorite color is a big deal. God forbid your kindergarten teacher ask you to pick up a crayon and scribble something in your favorite color, and you don’t know what it is.
    Today? Meh. I haven’t worried about what my favorite color is in years.
    But if someone held a gun to my head and I had to choose? I’d probably go with a dark sky-blue.
    But not for a house, of course. That would just be wrong.

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