Last week I stopped at a traffic signal and it happened again: I had me a little Christmas moment. Visions of Santa Claus, sugar plums, and all that. The traffic light is red, you see, but then it changed to green. Combine those colors and presto! Dave goes all holly/jolly in the head. Can’t really explain it but at least, maybe, a brief bit of Christmas cheer keeps the road rage at bay.
When two colors tango, untold images fill my brain. Pair up red & green and I’m ready to wrap presents. Pair up light blue & cream and I’m lounging on a beach in Hawaii, frosty piña colada in hand. But maybe you’re different. Maybe you celebrate Hannukah (in which case you should lobby for blue & silver traffic lights). Or maybe your world of red & green is simply something other than Christmas. Strawberries. Tennis courts. Those colorful maracas you hear a-shake-shakin’ in a Latin band. A dozen roses.
If we were talking about single colors we’d be back in elementary school, wouldn’t we? Green as the grass, red as the fire truck, orange as the pumpkin, and so on. Not a lot of fun in that. Not to mention, a single color dancing the tango by itself would be awkward. But two colors? Now… now we’re getting closer to a barrel of monkeys.
Psychologists like their Rorschach inkblots well enough, but two-color tangos would be a more interesting reveal. Tell the patient to close their eyes and concentrate. Now hold up a card half-white & half-orange and say, “Okay, open your eyes. What’s the first thing you think of?” Creamsicles. Blue & yellow card? Swedish Flag. Purple & red? Sunset. You get the idea. But that’s just me. My morally straight brain sprints to morally straight images.
Let’s put a thug in the same psychologist’s chair. He’s got “better things” to do but somehow we’ve convinced him to take the two-color tango test. He doesn’t even have to concentrate. Black & white? The police car headed his direction. Black & gray? His favorite handheld weapon. Black & red? Brimstone and fire in the afterlife known as Hell. Creepy, right? At least you have him in a chair instead of out on the streets. Might want to summon more psychologists for further evaluation.
The irony of my thug friend (foe?) is black & red is my favorite tango; more vivid than my red & green Christmases. I’m a nut for licorice, you see. Always have been. Love the whips, twists, shoestrings, Australian, salty, All-Sorts. You name it as long as it’s black or red. I prescribed myself thousands of Good & Plenty “pills” as a kid. I’ve eaten enough black licorice in my life to risk the consequences of this poor fellow’s habit.
[Author’s note: Any licorice with a color other than black or red does not deserve to be called “licorice”. Green Apple? Blue Raspberry? Watermelon? B-L-E-C-H. Those colors are fully inferior to the candy. They’re also trying to tango solo, which we’ve already established as awkward.]
Despite my overconsumption of black & red licorice, live and breathe I continue to do. And my two-color tango images are unfailingly consistent. Play me a game of checkers? Pass the licorice. Red bell pepper and black olive added to my salad? Where’s the licorice? Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday Night Football? Fill the snack bowl with licorice. Venomous eastern coral snake? WHOA… hang on now. No licorice image there, not at all. More like get me the hell outta my brain.
Before I get the coral snake outta my brain, let me pass along a PSA. The coral snake and the harmless scarlet king snake look remarkably similar with their bands of black, red, and yellow. If you come across one of these bad boys, try to remember this little “nursery rhyme”:
- Red Touch Yellow – Kills a Fellow
- Red Touch Black – Venom Lack
- Yellow Touch Red – Soon You’ll Be Dead
- Red Touch Black – Friend of Jack
Fun, huh? Better yet just look at the snake’s head. If it’s black, run away. FAST.
I planned to finish this post with three-color tangos and the images I came up with there. After all, traffic lights just as often go from green to yellow to red. Bell peppers. Macaws. Skittles candies (“Taste the Rainbow!”) But let’s be honest; I don’t have those images at all. Instead, I’m fully focused on speeding through the intersection before the signal wants me to stop.
Some content sourced from Wikipedia, “the free encyclopedia”.