Reflections, Things & Stuff

An unfortunate reality

Yesterday I was in the University of St Andrews Library and saw this Postgraduate Funding Guide:

As you may notice, the cover of this booklet features what looks like an Ishihara Colour Test.  When I first saw the test I thought perhaps it could be some raillery, until a reliable source told me that there is in fact a ‘£’ visible within the circle.  Unfortunately for me, a colour deficient, this circle of coins looks like nothing more than a circle of coins.  ‘Struggling to find funding?’  For me, yes, in more ways than one, apparently.  Thanks for the discouragement.

In all honesty, I found the minor episode to be slightly sad, though in a humourous way.  It reminded me of my childhood.  I recall the regular colourblind tests I had to take throughout my primary school years.  The school nurse would open up a small book to reveal something like this:

I would see nothing.  A ‘normal’ person should see a ‘7’.

What about this one?

I would once again see nothing.  A ‘normal’ person should see a ’16’.  At this point I began to feel like a freak.

And this one?

The freak sees nothing.  A ‘normal’ person should see a ’73’.  I slip into further perceptive despair!

But then there’s this one:

WAIT!  I CAN FAINTLY SEE SOMETHING, A ‘3’ MAYBE!  But as it turns out, a ‘normal’ person can see an ‘8’, whereas the red-green colour deficient can see a ‘3’.  They always trick us with this one…

What I find troubling is that through my research I even have difficulties with the figures that the red-green colour deficient are supposed to see.  Look at this test:

Apparently the red-green colour deficient are supposed to see a ‘5’.  I see something going on, but I can’t make myself see a ‘5’.  ‘Normal’ folks and the more severely colour deficient see nothing.  Perhaps it’s just the fault of my computer screen or the original image.

There have always been those rare though embarrassing occasions, like when I’ve painted the ‘wrong’ colour in a painting, or when someone asks me to hand them something green (like a pen) and I come up with something else, maybe something blue or brown.  Then when the cat’s out of the bag people just start pointing to random things, ‘WHAT DOES THIS LOOK LIKE TO YOU?’  It looks like I’m a novelty.

I usually don’t realise all of the different colours in my clothing until someone points it out to me.  I had a pair grey trousers for more than a year before someone told me that there was a hint of pink in them (‘Did you wash those with something red?’  I don’t know…).  My mistake – your light green shirt looks yellow to me.  I apologise if I compliment you on your blue jacket that is actually purple.  I also apologise if I get your eye colour wrong.  But in the end, colour deficiency hasn’t ruined my life and I’ve found that it is actually quite common (1% of males have my ‘condition’, deuteranopia).  Still, if Prospects wants to appeal to us 300,000+ deuteranopian males in the UK with their Postgraduate Funding Guide, they should change their ad campaign.


About Elijah

My name is Elijah and I am a proud Angeleño-Glaswegian. I serve as Minister of Queen's Park Govanhill Parish Church. My other interests include life in active community, writing, performing and partaking of music, collecting vinyl records, hiking/outdoors, urban exploration, Celtic FC and the Detroit Tigers.


2 thoughts on “An unfortunate reality

  1. Elijah, did you know that Sunukjian shares your same disability? He referenced it in a sermon on spiritual blindness saying that color blindness is a great analogy to spiritual blindness because you don’t really know that you’re color blind for most of the time…you can see and all, but there is some dimension that you don’t realize you can’t perceive.

    All that to say, perhaps your own disability can serve as a sermon illustration in ministry someday. There’s always a silver lining, right but sometimes people suffer from silver deficiency and just can’t see it!

    Posted by Greg | 12 May 2011, 4:19 PM

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