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I have to admit that I am colour-blind. Growing up, I never had a clue that everyone didnít see the world as I did. I was not aware of my problem until the grade eleven Biology teacher asked the class to choose a green leaf to examine. As luck would have it I chose brown. The teacher admonished me to not be contrary and do as I was directed. I sure tried to follow his direction and guessed brown once again.

When I was in university I wanted to help pay for my tuition by trying to join the University of Western Ontario Regular Officerís Training Air Force program. I zoomed through the medical with flying colours until the doctor produced some cards with all kinds of coloured dots on the paper. He wanted to know what numbers I was able to discern: I proudly boasted that there were absolutely no numbers on the page. Being able to discern colours was a mandatory requirement to be able to check out the planes instrument panel. He shook my hand and bid me adieu.

It seems that colour-blindness is a genetic problem that runs in families. My brother, Jack, often times mixed up his shoes wearing one brown and the other black at the same time.

8 % of males and only .5% of females are colour blind. We men are not really blind but can not differentiate between mostly green/red colours. Mothers carry the recessive gene that effects her sons. She is not colour-blind; she merely passes on her gift to the boys. Males do not pass on the deficiencies to their sons.

Some people seem to feel sorry for me when they hear that I canít differentiate between colours. Sure, it is a little hard to match my tie/ shirt and jacket. I tell inquiring people that if my apparel is clean and neat then it is okay with me.

There are simple rules I follow to survive in a colour- conscious world. Trust me, there are no green traffic lights in London, only red and white. I stop on the red and go on the white. Rarely do I go shopping for clothes all by myself. When I come home with my purchases and try them on to show my dear wife she always moans a little: "Oh God."

I recently purchased a stunning red coat that was only meant to be worn at Lionís Club meetings. I donít know why but Ella refuses to go out to "Theater London" with me all dressed up like Santa Claus.

I admit that a career in interior directing would be disastrous. I would be great blending black and white into the family room drapes. I know what I like, but I just donít know what colour it is.

Women who paint their eyes with mascara and lips with various shades of pastels do not register on me. Last week Ella asked me: "Was I impressed with one of my young female clients from Toronto who had dyed her hair green?" "Looked fine to me."

Genetically we males take the short straw when we end up bald and colour-blind at the same time. We die earlier than the females and are more prone to heart attacks etc., etc. I have tried to see where men are genetically superior to women. I even interviewed a few women/men at the Y to get their opinions. The women nodded their heads and smiled.

Thank God there are caring females with out whom we males would be completely lost. Mom please do your son a favour and check out his ability to discern various colours. If he is one of the unfortunate 8% of males in society who are colour deficient, you may be of assistance.

If you are in need of help OHIP covers once a year eye examinations by your Optometrist for your children up to twenty years of age.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com