I need a healthy distraction, so I decided to come on here and write.
My first career aspiration was to name Crayola crayons (my second was to name paint chips). I poured over my crayon box and memorized the names of each one. I used to line up all 64 in order of my favorites (a scoring system based on color, name, and how well the wax went on paper…not all crayons were created equally, you see). Midnight blue was a superior color. It went on the paper exceptionally well, and the name was evocative of mysterious things like space and night. Cornflower was disappointing because it never went on the paper very well…no matter how much pressure was applied, it only succeeded in creating a semi-transluscent waxy smudge on the paper without delivering the delicate blue that it promised. Shamrock is my current favorite.
Once at a party, I brought up the subject of crayons. Someone laughed and said, “Honestly, who still cares about crayons?” My friend Ryan and I both said we did. I asked if he had a favorite one, and he said yes. I said, “Me too!” We got into a “you tell me yours first” match, so we agreed that on the count of three, we would both say our favorite. We counted to three and shouted in unison, “Macaroni and cheese!” I thought I had found my soulmate.
Crayons have come a long way. In 1903, there were 8 colors. Crayola boxes have housed over 400 colors. There are currently 120. The four newest are inch worm, jazzberry jam, mango tango, and wild blue yonder. The four most recently retired are blizzard blue (I will miss it), magic mint, mulberry (another sad loss), and teal blue. Americans choose blue most often as their favorite, followed by cerulean and purple heart.
Did you know crayons have a political history? ‘Prussian blue’ became ‘midnight blue’ in 1958; ‘flesh’ became ‘peach’ in 1962 (Civil Rights movement); and ‘Indian red’ became ‘chestnut’ in 1999. My guess is that the days for ‘beaver’ are limited, but maybe that reveals my dirty mind.
Cool crayon facts: The glue that binds the paper to the crayon is simply cornstarch and water, since kids have a tendency to eat such things. The job of placing paper on crayons used to go to farmers during winter months to supplement their income. The smell of a crayon is the third most recognizable smell (after coffee and peanut butter).
Cheers to crayons, color, and the innocence of childhood.