Friday, April 22, 2022

Andy Young: The Color of Spring

By Andy Young

For Mainers whose schedules revolve around either working at a school or sending their offspring to one, April vacation is almost like being reborn.  

Even after nearly 20 years of teaching high school English, this week’s badly needed break hasn’t lost any of its luster for me. Its arrival means that the six-month slog of going to work in the dark (and more often than not returning home in it) is over, or at least it is until this coming October.

I’ve spent more than six hours in bed every night this week, which for me is the height of luxury. My alarm clock has been replaced, albeit temporarily, with chirping birds that sound nearly as happy about the recent rise in temperatures as I am. 

I’ve taken my bike out of the basement and gone out for enough rides to know where many of this year’s potentially rim-bending potholes are located. However, I haven’t put away the snow shovels yet, since I don’t want the neighbors holding me responsible for any freak blizzards that drop an unexpected foot of snow on the region sometime between now and Memorial Day. I have taken my lawn mower out of storage though, since numerous studies show no correlation between its premature appearance and any unpleasant climate-related phenomena like hailstones, dust storms or plagues of locusts.

But the best thing about spring’s onset is the color.

1970’s recording artist Kermit T. Frog once crooned “It’s Not Easy Bein’ Green,” and as someone who once tried riding the Tilt-a-Whirl right after consuming a hamburger and some extra-buttery corn on the cob at a long-ago fireman’s carnival, I can empathize with those whose complexions are green, even briefly.

But given the hue it’s replacing at this time of year, well, green is solid gold. 

While some colors lend themselves to song (Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas,” Prince’s “Purple Rain”, or the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine,” among others), the only recording artist associated with brown, the color nature has ordained to appear between winter’s white and spring’s green, is Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo, an animated one-trick pony who warbled about excrement on an infantile TV show called South Park. I assume it can still be seen somewhere in reruns.

Bill Green is a Maine broadcasting legend. Greens named Jeff, Danny, Draymond, JaMychal, Javonte, and Josh are currently gearing up for the National Basketball Association playoffs, and Ted, Mike, Rick, Travis, and Josh (presumably not the same fellow who’s currently toiling for the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks) have distinguished themselves in the past with various National Hockey League teams.

Major League Baseball history is literally littered with Greens: Dallas, Dick, Zach, Chad, Shawn, Grant, Lenny, Pumpsie, David, Nick, Gene, Sean, Tyler, Taylor, Fred, Gary, Steve, Scarborough, Jason, Chris, Harvey, Joe, Jim, Ed, Curtis, Honey, Julius, Leslie, and Willie are or were major leaguers, as were Hank Greenberg, Mike Greenwell, and the owner of the best baseball player surname of all time, Jim Greengrass.

Sorry, football fans: the extra E at the end of Mean Joe Greene’s last name disqualifies him from making any all-time Green All-Star teams, but former Washington Hall of Fame cornerback Darrell is there.

Other notables associated with a forest-like tint include Yoda, the Incredible Hulk, Shrek, the Wicked Witch of the West, the Grinch, all four Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Frankenstein, Oscar the Grouch, and the Green Hornet.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with black, white, yellow, red, blue or any other color. But spring’s gorgeous tint has doomed all those other pigments to be forever green with envy. <


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