Paul Handley – The Color of 2015

Anguish

The powers behind the curtains of color have pulled aside the sash to prognosticate that the year 2015 will be clad in brown. Colors-R-Oui (CRO) has designated itself as the prime mover of calling the color shots. With a higher GDP and being arguably closer to the top of the list to join the UN Security Council than several other countries, CRO predicts a year of earth tones, cola coloring, and liver spots.

Steve McDede, the group’s spokesman said “We don’t dictate, but strongly suggest that if our color instructions are not followed we aren’t responsible for what will begin as snark, ridicule, and bitchy comments that inevitably escalate to social ostracism.”

I asked Mr. McDede how the CRO ideas coalesce, forming the perfect blend that gives birth, nay, bears fruit the color of most nuts. He said it all starts in a paneled hotel meeting room about thirty miles from Vegas. “The first impression for arrivals is the lights of Vegas shining its halo on the surrounding dirt or desert. It’s not a scary dark, but more a come out and play dark, unlike the garishness up the road that demands playtime.”

Mr. McDede continued, “As color mavens we look at cultural influences to foresee the coming color domination and these forces all become part of the conversation, a dialectic as it were.”

“So, banter?” I offered.

“No, much deeper,” Mr. McDede said.

“A dialectic circumscribed by wood paneling.”

“Have it your way,” McDede said after an appreciative chuckle. I smiled back, savoring my insightful witticism and the wherewithal of Mr. McDede to recognize it as such.

“I always wondered where the color mavens flock,” I said.

“Flocking mavens? I like how you think,” said McDede.

“Thank you. And what did the flock of color mavens decide are the cultural guideposts used to divine the color of the next year?”

“You mean flocking color mavens?” We both laughed uproariously.

McDede regained his composure. “The attendees look at cultural touchstones: popular dance club tracks, restaurant openings, accessories of TV judges such as eyewear or plastic surgery. A person makes a casual reference to Mother Earth and we start to riff on that, how so many people live in wastelands that have to be viewed much as an optimist like Georgia O’Keefe saw them: a backdrop for pretty flowers and cow skulls. That led to discussion of tribal rituals such as sweat huts, vision quests and accompanying hallucinations that are colored by the platform of rocks and sand.”

“That sounds like a freak show and I mean that in the best possible way. Sincerely,” I said.

“Thank you.”

“M.E. You know what I flashed on? I thought Mother Earth was a fantastic name for a character actor. I mean who’s going to forget you with that moniker, especially if you’re a boy?” I asked.

“Really, and it gets people talking about the planet, which is OK. It’s OK to get heavy. Bring it, I say,” said McDede.

“Can you imagine? Did you see Mother Earth steal that scene from right under the “co-star’s” better lines? That ME is one MF’er.”

“You are a hoot. I love it,” said McDede.

“You set me up. Where were we? Gravel?” I asked.

“Talk of gravel led to the construction industry and the economy in general.”

“So brown is the color of money?” I asked. “Brown is the new green.”

“Exactly, currency is so twentieth century. I know I never carry it anymore. When money is intangible it becomes less crass, I think. But we still need a symbol so that people know it exists. Brown does that.”

“Will we have more symbolic money in 2015?” I asked.

“It was felt that pulling out of Afghanistan and Iraq would lead to an economic rebound since the country could stop pouring blood money on the sand. That theater of war will still operate like a flashback to the dirt landscape from which so many troops and imbedded journalists were engaged. The heart of America was also with them when reminded at the start of sporting events.”

“Ah, sports,” I said.

“Don’t get ahead of me, spitfire. Sporting events led to the Olympics and then Athens. Earth tones are associated with mythology. The Greek Goddess Artemis was a huntress and wore brown, since they didn’t know yet about camouflage. The Egyptian God Anubis had a jackal head, but a gorgeous tan. We pictured him wearing a cashmere throw.

“Brown, of course,” I said.

“Russet. Not coincidentally, Anubis wearing the throw is the official color insignia for 2015.”

“Brilliant. Truly remarkable.”

“I’ll give you one other tidbit for your readers,” said McDede.

“I and our readers would love it.”

“What touches the desert in the most intimate way while covering the most ground?

“Camels?”

“Yes. You’re good, but more specific,” said McDede.

“I can’t intuit. I don’t have the faintest.”

“Think. Caramel. Peanut butter. Camel hoof. Beneath camels’ hooves are the darkest recesses that we divine as part of the spectrum of the presaged color palette.”

“What a wonderful conclusion to our interview. Our readers can’t actually live it, but I think we gave them a delicious taste.”