47 Comments

  1. The most common color-blindness is red/blue, which leaves the person still able to distinguish yellow. I’d say it was unlikely for a child old enough to ask that to not have noticed color-blindness in her father, but I know someone who as over 30 before he noticed that his mother was left-handed.

  2. Seems to me you’d have to never have eaten together not to notice a family member is left-handed. Or only eat at big tables. When a family with lefties sits down to eat, there’s some strategy involved.

  3. A few years ago, my brother told me he’s color-blind. He has no explanation for how I managed to successfully teach him his colors when he was a toddler.

  4. Same way my friend’s daughter has learned about semi-circles: the “color” on the upper left of page three of that book is “green” — whatever the hell that means. Whereas the “color” on page 2 is “red”. Also, the correct answer to “What else is red?” is “An apple”, whereas the correct answer to “What else is green?” is “The grass”. No toddler left behind!

  5. I’ve always been intrigued – How does one know he is color blind anyway? If you say the apple is red, wouldn’t whatever color the colorblind person sees be defined as red? Would there be a functional difference?

  6. I’m going to vote that color-blindness is the joke.

    Also the “What is the |something common| of which you speak, oh strange traveler form the normal realms that seem so exotic to was simple folk of a limited realm” is currently a common humor trope. At the best of times it’s a *stupid* trope and in this case it’s astonishingly lazy and… kind of offensive.

    I think the dad is saying “huh” because he doesn’t know the concept of “yellow” and has never heard the word before. So the joke is… “wouldn’t it be funny if color-blind people had no concept of color?” To which the answer is “Of course that isn’t funny! What the @$#! is the *matter* with you‽”

  7. Its Justme:

    Many color blind folks don’t know they are color blind. But there are tests and the doctor will gently say “You see these to shades that look very similar to each other and that you have to hold next to each other to tell them apart? Well, 93% of all men and 99% of all women can tell them apart in an instant from any distance and they are as distinct to them as these two colors.”

    Or after several people referring to two very similar shades and telling the difference and being confused you can’t eventually make you wonder…. I remember talking with an eight year old boy who had just learned he was color blind. He said we wasn’t very color-blind because he could tell red and green apart if they were lined up and touching each other and he could tell black cards from red cards by the shape of the suits. It became clear he thought it was a gradient and thought everyone was color-blind but those who were declared to have color vision were just faster at doing the analysis to determine which of the similar shades was which. He didn’t realize they actually *were* completely different shades.

    I didn’t have the heart to correct him.

  8. Okay, Andrea’s is actually funny. (But this one isn’t).

    Um… I never thought of the flying monkeys as being “blue”. I suppose if you point it out they had blued highlights and tinges, but not so that I would ever have consciouslynoticed. But I certainly wouldn’t say they were “blue”. Would you?

  9. I can see it either way. Their fur is grey and Niko (but not all the others) has bluish skin and their outfits accentuate their blueness.

    I just never thought of them as blue. Bluish? It’s funny; they don’t look Bluish.

    (ripped off from The Yellow Submarine, of course)

  10. @Its Justme:

    “We each live in a wonderland;
    A blue to you is a red to me,
    A shade is seen, and we call it green —
    I wonder what you see?”

    “Look About You,” by Theodore Sturgeon (first published in the pulp fantasy magazine UNKNWON, January 1940)

  11. I think the mother is just covering up for the father’s stupidity. Even if he’s one of the extremely rare individuals who cannot see any color at all, he ought to know about deciduous foliage.
    P.S. @ Its JustMe – Having read through most of a poorly-edited article on colorblindness in Wikipedia: there are standardized testing patterns that show a large set of seemingly randomly colored dots, but people who can differentiate the color shades will see a different pattern than those who cannot. Here’s an example:

  12. This reminds me of when I was in charge of a maintenance crew. We were painting walls in a hallway, had just finished one side and the two walls did not match. The manager of the place walked by and said it all looked great. I told him we hadn’t started on the other side yet…..he then said he was colorblind and they look the same to him. One of my guys happily cheered “We’re Done”!, climbed down off the ladder and started to clean up.

  13. I think the humor is the wife covering for the dad and the dad picking up on his wife’s lead. I like to also think that he’s making it obvious so that the daughter is in on the cover (it’s hard to tell how old she is; some 6-year-olds I’ve been around have seemed aware enough to recognize a tall tale being told) I think it’s charming.

  14. I led a band once wherein the color of the uniform pants was rather strictly black. The tuba player invariably wore dark blue, and being the kind, considerate bandleader I was, I gently informed him maybe every other gig that the dress was black pants, He just as politely would reply Yup. Finally, the light went on for me and I said Al, Do you realize that your pants are blue? He was staggered, and only after several band members testified as to the blueness of his pants did he parse it to himself and swore to thereafter put labels in his black and blue pairs of pants. End of problem, He was maybe 45 at the time and had been a career Navy guy. I had to cut him slack because I myself am still not at all sure I can tell black from navy blue. And no, his pants were not navy blue.

  15. @ CIDU Bill – Not noticing a left-handed mother may be an extreme example, but I know that I would not be able to name a single member of my extended family or any friends who are left-handed. I’m sure that there are some, but it’s just not a characteristic that my brain bothers to record.

  16. My youngest brother did some things left-handed. We sometimes wondered if he wasn’t actually a lefty but was surrounded by so many righties (he was 7th of 8 kids) that he imitated us to a degree.

  17. Kilby: I’ve always liked these tests; they’re very clever, not just telling you one is color-blind but also to what degree.
    Do you see nothing, 21 or 74?

  18. @ Olivier – I see the “correct” (or “normal”) answer (74), but viewing a computer graphic on a video screen with an unknown “white point” is hardly a reliable testing condition. If there’s anyone out there who sees it otherwise, I would go get a second opinion from an eye doctor before jumping to any conclusions.

  19. The Ishihara tests are something that both my father and I hate. He absolutely cannot see the number. However, if you point to a dot, he can correctly identify which colour each one is. He just can’t put the dots into a pattern. I have difficulty with them too, but can generally see a pattern eventually (it involves a lot of squinting and moving my head around, and tracing the path of the different colours to figure out what it is.) For example – the the provided one, I constantly see the 2, even though when I look directly at that part of the test I can instantly see that the line cuts off for the 7, which results in me having to intentionally trace out (with my eyes is often good enough) the shape of the green dots to see what it’s supposed to be.

  20. @ Christine – I can see the differences in the spots forming the second digit that could turn the “4” into a “1” for some people, but I simply cannot figure out how the first digit could be morphed from a “7” into a “2”. I just don’t see any “betweenish” dots where the base would need to be.
    P.S. @ Winter Wallaby – One the books by (or about, it might have been his biography) Richard Feynmann, there was anecdotal evidence that he had a synesthetic connection between digits and colors.

  21. @Kilby if you look at the base of the 7, there is a section of red dots that are a bit more brown, that are right where the base of the two would be. You can see them again underneath the top of the diagonal for the same digit (right opposite where the light green ones are). I assume that if you can’t differentiate the light green, that it will make the top a bit more rounded. We should put it through one of those filters for web designers that let you see what different types of colourblindness make a page look like.

  22. Thanks, Andrea. I usually do try to read existing comments before jumping in, but sometimes miss something, or don’t travel a link.

  23. That’s cool Christine. Thanks for that link. My dad is red-green colorblind, but I didn’t know what that might actually look like for him. And I don’t know which kind, since that site shows there are 2 variants. I just know he’s memorized that Red lights are always on the top or left, for driving.

  24. Lark – I am tone deaf. There are a few pieces of music without lyrics that I can recognize by one thing or another in them, but mostly if it doesn’t have words I don’t know it. (I can tell the difference between classical, country/ western, rock & roll etc.).

    Robert decided that I really needed to learn to recognize an 18th century song called “Chester”. It was the unofficial “national anthem” of the American Revolution. I knew the words, but when it was played at events or Colonial Williamsburg, etc. I had no idea – it was just “colonial music” without the words. He set off to make sure I learned to recognize the music. Every time it was played somewhere that we were he would ask me what the music was and I would I shrug. He would get annoyed and tell me I really had to learn to recognize it. I realized something – every time he asked me what the music was, it was “Chester” – duh!!. So every time he asked me what a piece of colonial music was, I answered “Chester”. He was rather pleased that I had finally learned what the music sounded like. Then one day he asked me what a piece of colonial music was. I looked at him, smiled and said “Chester”. Darn! It was not Chester and it was something else he figured I would recognize. So, he found out that I was playing him along on knowing what it was.

  25. Big Chief – I have trouble telling very dark blue from black unless I take my eyeglasses off. I have no idea why – but something in seeing them through my eyeglasses (distance or reading or progressive lenses and I am talking clear lenses,not my sunglasses. I tell the navy tee shirt I usually wear apart from the black one I usually wear as the black one has no tag and has printing in the back inside, while the navy one has a tag. Unfortunately if I need to wear the one of my other two black tee shirts which has the same tag as the navy, I will be standing in the bathroom (better light than the bedroom) with my eyeglasses off trying to figure out which one is which to put them away in the closet in the correct order.

  26. I remember taking the color blindness tests in elementary school. My parents then explained to me about same. My dad also told me (I have since learned that several of dad’s bits of learned wisdom – such as there cannot be an earthquake in NY – are not actually true, so I am not sure if this is actually true) since red and green are close in color tone and in one type of color blindness one cannot tell red from green – or vice versa – the traffic lights are set so that red is always on the top and green on the bottom (yellow not as common back then) or red is on the left and green is on the right so that people who have a problem telling the two colors apart will know which light is which on a traffic light. I don’t know if it true, but I have never seen a red light on the bottom or the right.

  27. I play ping pong left handed – not well, but if I try to play right handed it is lethal as I play even worse. It is the only thing I do solely left handed.

  28. @Meryl A – The local solution to laundry problems like that involves a small amount of embroidery thread or other coloured thread, in an inconspicuous location. (e.g on the inside of the hem, not poking through). And I can’t remember explicitly hearing my parents say that the traffic lights were designed for colour-blindness, but that sounds familiar (and with one parent a civil engineer, and the other with UI training, I’m trusting their info.) Fun fact: in (parts of?) Quebec, the traffic lights have two reds, one at each end. But the green is still second from the right, so I don’t entirely consider this to be a counter-example.

  29. I used to say that I would only ever hear two tunes on the bagpipes, one was Amazing Grace and the other wasn’t. Later I found out that the other was Scotland the Brave.

  30. I generally open doors with keys in my left hand (if only because my right hand is often carrying something), and I think my touch typing skills are a bit better with my left than my right hand, but o/w essentially right-handed.

    On another of my lists, someone mentioned in passing how difficult it was to turn a key with her non-dominant hand, which struck me as strange. Of all the possible things to differentiate by handedness skills, that wouldn’t have been in my top fifty guesses.

  31. Guess I’m the token color-blind guy on the list. 🙂 I am red deficient. This does not mean I can’t see red at all. (Many folks, upon learning of my condition, immediately point out someone’s red shirt and ask what color it is. Red, of course.) The problem for me is when red is mixed with other colors. Purple, for example, hardly exists in my world – it generally looks blue to me unless there is a very healthy amount of red in it, such as in magenta. And for me to see pink, it has to be Pepto-Bismol bright. Pale pinks are grey to me – I only know they’re pink if someone tells me. On Kilby’s test up above, all I see are dots. No numbers, can’t even see where they could be. Reading red text is really hard for me, nearly impossible if it’s on a black or very dark background. Basically, because the red-perceiving cones in my eyes don’t work well, I see colors differently than the average person. Color is, of course, a learned response. But my boundaries are different. As I have aged, I’ve also started struggling to distinguish between green and yellow. Again, depends on the shade and amount of chroma. Bold greens and yellows aren’t a problem, pastels definitely are. So I can understand why someone might struggle to see green leaves turning yellow as in the comic, though I haven’t noticed such a problem myself. And I simply assumed that the dad was poking fun at himself by pretending not to know what yellow was – I’ve been known to utilize similar kinds of humor with my kids. Currently, we’re trying to determine if my 4-year old grandson has inherited the condition. He has a 50-50 chance – the gene is carried by my daughters, who won’t become colorblind but can pass it on to their sons. He seems to recognize colors okay, but he’s not really consistent. Just hard to tell at his age. Color blindness has certainly made life more interesting for me.

  32. Christine – thank you., Another solution would be my turning on all the lights in the room. I just walk into the bathroom and check. Lately I have been wearing my black tee shirt which is newer and had the info printed in the back and my dark blue tee shirt which has a tag in the back. (Yes, before anyone jokes – I wear other tee shirts also. The black one(s) is (are) worn on Fridays and the dark blue one(s) is (are) worn on Mondays.

    I also always figure to put a thread in the back of several of my tee shirts (such as one of my medium blue ones – worn on Tuesdays – which has the info printed in the back but it faded and is next to impossible to see, so I keep meaning to put a stitch in the back of it so I know. But then again, there are a few dozen white socks waiting to be darned for some years now…

Add a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.