Friday, July 24, 2009

The Day I Was Tested For Color Blindness

One ordinary day in elementary school, the school nurse tested our class for color blindness. Each of us was called to the nurses office, one-at-a-time.

She explained what she was doing, showed me a bunch of cards with dots on them that were gray and green, and she asked me what shapes I saw on them. The first two were easy. I saw that the green dots were arranged into a square and a circle.

The third card tripped me up. The green dots formed some sort of S shape, which I decided was not a proper shape. So I answered, "I don't see a shape."

"You don't see a shape?" asked the nurse, acting as if I'd just told her I hadn't had a bowel movement for 42 days.

"No." There was something about her that inspired me to be obstinate. I didn't feel like elaborating. Nor did I wish to seek clarification.

So after I looked at merely three cards, she dismissed me, and I went back to the classroom.

And as far as I know, that was it. My parents never raised the issue. I received the same lessons as everyone else, even in art class, despite my perceived handicap.

I don't consider myself color blind. Yet, the above image (borrowed from looks like a bunch of pale green, green, and olive dots of different sizes. Which is a shame because apparently it has my favorite number on it.

If you're curious about color blindness, check out Colblindor, a website devoted to the topic. And I can see the shapes, numbers and lines pretty well on the Ishihara plates test. But that might be because they're scanned in and not true to their original color.


rummuser said...

I was in a business where colour matching was of vital importance and as a prerequisite, every employee had to undergo a colourblindness test before an appointment letter was issued.

That was the first time that I came across the term and the handicap! Anyway, I passed and worked with them for near a quarter century.

In the same situation, I came across another problem which is more common than most people realize. Many people who are not coulour blind, cannot however identify colours by their correct name!

Lynne Morrell said...

My fella is color blind. He sees the world in a very different way than I do~ And hence...yes, hence...I pick out all the colors for our house:)

Square Peg Guy said...

Hi Lynne:

I'd love it if someone were to pick out colors for us. But I suspect that my wife has even worse color blindness. After the bedroom was painted, I noticed that the color didn't match the chip. The walls ended up more blue than green. But it looks better against the wood than the original color would've.

Thanks for commenting!

Square Peg Guy said...

Hi rummuser:

I forgot about this until I read your comment. Color blindness came up again when I was in high school. I was visiting a technical school that I was thinking of attending after graduating. The career path was electronic technician, and the person that conducted the tour asked right away whether I was color blind. Color is used to identify component values and wires. Seeing our reaction, he gave me a resistor and asked me to tell me what color stripes it had. That was no problem for me, and I had little problem with color in my career.

Thanks for commenting!