Being Colorblind

Color56One of my favorite moments at the high school reunion last week was the story that a former classmate told me. Apparently when we were in the 3rd grade, we were given an assignment to put together a felt display on a board. When I completed mine, said classmate let me know that my people were purple and the colors were all wrong. As the story goes, I then informed her that I was colorblind. I don’t remember this, but she has never forgotten it. When she retold the story, I found it quite hilarious. So, let’s take a quick look at what it is like to be a freak like me colorblind.

Before I give some examples, let’s set the table a bit shall we? If you look at the image in this post and see a number, you’re NOT colorblind. If you’re like me and see a pizza….you might want to dial up the eye doctor. You’re probably also wearing a purple shirt that you think is blue…..

1. Whoever created the game Candy Land was obviously not colorblind. There is no reason that my children should have to tell me what color the cards are, or move my game piece for me. I can’t even tell if they are cheating or not! I’m pretty sure those same people also created a new game called “Qwirkle” that we got for Christmas. According to the family it’s a lot of fun. Not so much for this guy.

2. It’s a good thing that traffic lights are in order (red, yellow and green). If they ever decide to change the order….I am in big trouble. There can be moments of anxiety when I pull up to a single flashing light (usually red or yellow). Put it this way, if a single flashing light is not accompanied by a stop sign I am rollin’ through it.

3. The Color Purple was a wildly successful film, but is a nightmare for those of us that are colorblind. Any designer of men’s clothing or tennis shoes with the color purple are obviously friends with the Candy Land game inventor. Do you know how many times I thought I bought the coolest pair of blue Nikes……that were PURPLE. Far to often I’ve had a friend say “dude….sweet purple (insert article of clothing).”

4. Contrary to popular belief I can see more than just black and white. I am not a DOG. I just cannot differentiate between the shades. That has to be the number one question I get.

5. One of the greatest days of my life was the day I got married. Thankfully we wore black and white, but it also meant that I could begin each day with 4 simple words –  “Honey….does this match?”

6. I’ll never be a web designer. Ever.

It’s actually not all that bad. Most of the time I don’t think about it. One summer in college I worked at a mens suit store. It wasn’t until about halfway through the summer that the manager realized I was colorblind. He finally caught on that I wasn’t flirting with the cashiers when I asked them to pick out a tie for the customers new suits. I just needed a little help.

A few weeks ago I was working with someone on a project. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: “when we see that light flashing green, then we know it’s done.”

Him: “You mean red?”

Me: “exactly.”

So now you have a taste of what it’s like to be colorblind. I found the video below and thought it was a great explanation as well. We’re not crazy or dumb. We just see the world very differently. Sometimes I wish everyone could try walking a mile in my purple shoes. Just so you can see it that way too.

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