Does the Color Matter?

May 14, 2015

DOES THE COLOR MATTER, the large, bold, all capital letters asked.  It was front and center on my son’s fifth grade science fair exhibit, and upon seeing it I was immediately mortified that people would get the wrong idea.  I could just imagine the scuttlebutt that would develop as teachers and parents entered the gymnasium where the fair was being held…

“Does the color matter?  What the hell kind of display is this?”

“Who does this punk think he is?”

“Who does this child belong to?”

“Oh yeah, his family has always seemed racist!”

Let me give you a little background info.  First of all, my family is in no way racist.  On the contrary, my wife and I are committed advocates for equality; regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, etc., and we raise our family with these values.  Secondly, the purpose of my son’s exhibit was to show the results of an experiment to determine if colored candles burn at a different pace than white candles.  I know, I know, suddenly your focus has changed from the poor choice of wording on the exhibit, to the incredibly irrelevant subject matter of the experiment.  I mean, what should everyone do, stop buying blue candles if they burn faster?  But don’t let yourself get too distracted.

The exhibit was finished around 9:00 the night before the fair was to take place.  As usual with these types of school projects, despite my kid having weeks to do the work, it wasn’t done until the last minute (some people might point at the parents about this problem).

“Check it out!” he exclaimed.

“Whoa…”  I grimaced.  “Are you sure that might not send the wrong message?”

“What, oh no, it’s fine.”  He even knew what I was talking about.

“How about changing it to read, CANDLESDOES THE COLOR MATTER?'”

“You’re being ridiculous, Dad!  It’s fine,” he said with frustration.  He had been occasionally (rarely) working on this for weeks – not to mention for hours that evening, and he was ready to be done.  “How about just telling me it looks good?”

I knew he was probably right, so I let it go.  I’m well aware that I can be far too serious/sensitive about political correctness.

The next day the science fair went great.  I saw no sign of anyone being upset.  In retrospect, I feel bad that I was bothered by it, and truly wish I would have simply complimented my boy on his hard work.  While he is very intelligent, assignments requiring some creativity are not his cup of tea.  Hey, it could have been worse.  He could have done a different experiment resulting in a display asking, DOES THE SIZE MATTER?  Or, heaven forbid, DOES THE COLOR MATTER IN RELATION TO THE SIZE?

In case you’re wondering, color does matter when it comes to how candles burn.  It turns out that red candles burn faster.  I can only assume that news of this will soon get out, resulting in either a huge surplus of red candles or a very significant reduction in price.  I mean, who is going to waste their money on a candle that burns a little faster than others?

One last thing.  Considering that nearly half (literally) of the science fair exhibits displayed the results of mixing Mentos (you know, the Freshmaker) with Coca-Cola, I’m damn proud of my kid.  The one who loves people of all colors.

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One Response to “Does the Color Matter?”

  1. facetfully Says:

    Well, smiles matter too and he looks happy! As for all the concerns, dad, reserving comment. Nice to see some pictures on the blog!


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