Colorblind World

Being a colorblind engineer is tough. Not on me, though, even though I’m a colorblind engineer. Tough on those around me. Here’s an example.

In my kitchen, I have black wrought iron chairs and a granite kitchen countertop. Over the years, I’ve noticed the backs of the chairs where they touch the granite have become worn; the black is less black and more gray. The paint has worn off exposing the metal underneath.

The engineer in me comes up with a solution – I’ll go buy black felt sticky squares and put them over the worn spots. The felt pads are small and thin, will be less noticeable than the exposed gray metal, and will protect the chair and the granite. Off I go to Home Depot to make my purchase and put my plan into action.

So I’m standing in the kitchen, putting the aforementioned plan into action, when the Sweet Wife looks at me. I don’t recognize this look. Bemusement? Horror? She says, “What are you doing?”

So I explain my aforementioned plan and how it will protect the chairs and the granite an how I bought these black felt sticky squares to …

“But those aren’t black,” she says. “They’re green.”

Oh. Well, that was unexpected.

“Bless your heart,” she says. “It must be terrible living in a colorblind world.”

“Oh, not at all,” I reply. “In my world, everything matches. Apparently, though, it stresses out everybody else.”

5 thoughts on “Colorblind World”

  1. One of the guys on my team is color blind. Before I found that out, I was horrified at the color scheme he had set on his computer.

    We don’t let him do pie charts.


  2. Heh. Most chart software (Excel, etc) has pre-selected color sets. I appreciate that.

    I had such a beast of a time with the old blog template with the little blue swirlies. Trying to make colors match required outside help which wasn’t easy to find. “Please select a color that matches this blue, but give it to me in hexadecimal form.” I think I’ll stick with professional templates from now on.


  3. A.J. made it through all of 4th grade in my first year of teaching before I found out he was colorblind. Why his parents or he never told me, I don’t know. I sort of thought you told that sort of thing to the teacher. I held up a pie chart, and asked what fraction of the pie the yellow represented. I called on A.J., the smartest kid in the class, and he said, “I don’t know.” What?! I was incredulous, how could he not know? “A.J,” I said patiently, “just look at the yellow part of the pie – how do you not know, you’ve done this perfectly so many other times!” Finally, he said, “Of course I don’t know, I’m colorblind.” As if should know. How did he make it through the whole year? Apparently he was even smarter than I thought, and used a lot of process of elimination to get by.


  4. Actually, most people (even adults) don’t even know they’re colorblind. We just think they lack good fashion sense.

    Kids find unorthodox solutions. I needed glassesfor years but nobody (including me) knew it. When it came time to pass the eye chart test, I memorized the chart or the answers other kids gave so I could pass, too. I was very competitive that way.


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