Posts Tagged ‘On Being Color Blind’

Not my pants.

Note: That title is a little melodramatic. This story isn’t that crazy, at least by my standards. In reality I just wanted to use the word “awry” in a title. “Awry” is a cool word.

So I made a run up to Macy’s yesterday to do some shopping. I’m probably the quickest shopper you’ve ever known, folks, and I take great pride in it. I arrived at 10:11 and was back in the car at 10:55. And yes, I actually time myself.

My 44-minute excursion included trying on 5-pairs of pants, 3-shirts, a coat, a hat, and frightening a little middle-eastern sales clerk who was negligent in assisting me. But more on him shortly.

I usually walk in, go straight to what I’m looking for, try it on, buy it, and I’m gone. What can I say? I’m decisive when I know what I want. Oh, every once in awhile I’ll feign interest in something if an attractive lady is working that department. I once looked at a collection Hermes Man Purses that I had no intention of buying for 15-minutes because the female clerk was cute, but that’s neither here nor there.

Anywho, I could have been out of there in less time yesterday had I not run into a bit of a problem. You see, when I shop I need a little help. As I’ve mentioned before on this site, I’m color blind. That’s why I usually stick to black pants, because I can wear about any color shirt with them. On a related note, I’ll wear any color shirt – pink doesn’t bother me in the least. I hate people who are judgmental about colors, even though I can’t see them. But I digress.

Anyway, when I first arrived at the men’s department there was nobody around to help, but I thought what the hell, the store just opened, no big deal. After a few minutes though, I noticed a couple gentlemen at the checkout counter glancing over at me as if considering helping me but discarding the thought, even after I’d caught their eye a couple of times.

Eh, no matter. How could I possibly screw up black, anyway?

Turns out it’s possible.

I’m not one of those people who try on one pair of a certain brand of pants and then assume they’ll all fit, because sometimes they don’t. Because I know this I try on every pair to be sure. So, after trying on all 5-pair I gather them up and head to checkout, where the two male clerks were still there, talking about the physical attributes of the ass of Neil Patrick Harris. Seriously.

After completely ignoring me for 30-seconds (remember, the store was practically empty), one of the clerks, the aforementioned little middle eastern gentleman, noticed me and walked over. His name tag said his name was Hadji.

So Hadji starts ringing me up, and just before I swipe my credit card I ask, just in case . . .

Me: “Hey, I need to check. These pants are black, aren’t they?”

Hadji just stared at me.

Me: “I’m color blind. But they are black, right?”

At this point he was still staring and I almost waved my hand in front of his face to snap him out of it, but I fought off the urge. Then he finally spoke:

“No, sir, they’re navy blue.”

Well, hell. I don’t know if it was the smug attitude of Hadji and his buddy, the fact that they hadn’t come over in the first place to help, or that I’d spent 20-minutes trying on the wrong color pants, but I snapped.


I swiftly grabbed all 5-pairs of pants out of Hadji’s hands and stormed off to do the whole process again, but only after letting both clerks know exactly what I thought of their job performances, in no uncertain or gentlemanly terms.

After a few seconds of stunned silence, Hadji then proceeded to scurry behind me and kindly (although somewhat skittishly) take the navy blue pants and help me switch them all out for black ones, so he did redeem himself somewhat. In addition, he may or may not have wet his pants. Bottom line, I got what I wanted.

But damn it, I could’ve been out of there by 10:30.


Apparently I’m supposed to see something here? Yeah, I got nuthin’.

So a lot of you know I’m color blind. I often read where being color blind is a handicap, and I suppose it is to a certain extent. Still, on a scale of 1-10 I’d give it about a .3 at the most.

So, handicap schmandicap. Ain’t no thing as they say.

Color blindness is carried by females and passed to males, so my grandfather had it. He gave it to my mother, who passed it to me. My sisters have both given it to their first-born sons, so my nephews Josh and Brett are both color blind too. Good times.

I distinctly recall the very first time I knew I was color blind. I was in 3rd Grade and we were looking at our science books. The teacher was saying something about color blindness and was telling us to look at one of those pictures with dots on it like the one you see above. She was saying that, if you were color blind, you couldn’t see the number in the middle.

Uh, what number? I even looked at the books on the desks around me to make sure I had the right page.


With my type of color blindness, pink looks light blue, purple appears to be navy blue, lime green looks yellow, blah-blah-blah.

It’s presented some minor problems in my life, nothing more, nothing less. For example . . .

I was once coaching junior high football on a Saturday morning up in Washington Court House and told the other team’s coach they needed to turn the scoreboard on. After looking at me like I had a 3-toed sloth on my head, he informed me that the scoreboard was, in fact, on. They had those red lights and for whatever reason they were completely invisible to me in the daylight. Weird.

I’ve never been able to find mushrooms in the woods. They just blend right in with the other foliage. Can’t see ’em.

And during the fall when folks point to the hills and talk about how beautiful the colors are? Yeah, they all sort of look the same to me. Not a lot of contrast, so to speak. I usually just nod and pretend it’s a gorgeous sight to behold.

I also can’t find an orange golf ball in the green grass for the life of me, so there’s that.

When I was in high school I bought some school clothes for the new year. I brought everything home and although they deny it now, I remember showing my sisters the stuff I bought and they approved. Then even picked out a particular pair of blue jeans they liked and I wore them the first day back to school.

They were purple.

That was a fun day, lemme tell ya. My purple jeans were quite the hit that day. Good Lord.

After a while I just learned to wear a lot of black or khaki pants when I had to dress nice since just about everything matches those colors. Makes things a helluva lot easier.

I’ve also learned other facts along the way, such as the green traffic light is on the bottom and the red on the top. It’s this way so you can see it from farther away. That way if you’re cresting a hill you’ll see the red light quicker. Also, I look for clues. For instance, if somebody has a dark Ohio State shirt on I’m pretty sure it’s red, and if I see a light Michigan shirt I know it’s chickenshit yellow. You learn after awhile.

And don’t ask about matching my ties and shirts. Let’s just say I ask a lot of questions when I buy clothes or give my sister a call before leaving the house. I’ve also taken a lot of selfies and sent them to friends just to make sure things matched.

It’s also pretty amusing when people compliment me on a certain color shirt I might be wearing, such as, “You really look nice in purple.” Or, “It takes a lot of confidence to wear that pink shirt.” Not really, because I can’t comprehend why pink would be associated with being feminine. Totally foreign concept to me. If it matches I’ll wear it. End of story.

And it always amuses me when people find out I’m color blind (especially kids), because the first question is invariably, “Really? What color does this look like to you?”  Then they point to their shirt or their pants or something they’re carrying. Sometimes just to amuse myself I say something outrageous. For instance, they’ll show me a red shirt and I’ll say it looks yellow. Or if I’m feeling really ornery I’ll say plaid. That usually shuts them up.

People always seem amazed that I can’t see pink or purple, but how do they know the purple they see is the purple somebody else sees anyway? I mean, if you’ve been told your whole life that something was purple how would anyone know the difference? Am I making any sense? Am I asking too many questions? What is the meaning of life? What is truth? Who put the ram in the rama lama ding dong?

I’m pretty sure I’m losing my mind.

Bottom line, although it causes the occasional complication it’s not that big of a deal. It’s hard to explain, but how can I miss what I’ve never seen?

I can’t, right?



Yeah, still nuthin’.