Uppermost House: What color is the dress?

PeterLewisTreehouseCMYKBy S. Peter Lewis

BN Columnist

You may be the only one left alive on Planet Earth who does not have an opinion about the colors of a certain dress that popped onto the Internet on February 26 (you probably even remember where you were when the lights dimmed).

I just typed the WCITD buzz-phrase into Google a couple of minutes ago and got 258 million results. When you consider that each of those results points to some address on the Web where said dress was addressed, so to speak, and that each of those addresses have been visited many times (it was tweeted 11 million times on that Friday alone), you quickly realize that all of humanity is well aware of, and perhaps even obsessed by, The Dress.

So, black and blue? Blue and yellow? Dark cyan and butternut gold? And no, I’m not being sarcastic; this actually matters. At least it matters if enough people think it matters, right? And since (based our collective web buzz) we all think it matters, then it matters. A lot, apparently. And it mattered more than anything else for over a week (which is about our current pointless-story attention span), totally displacing the Patriots “overly under-inflated” footballs (as one reporter put it) of just a few weeks earlier (and don’t say that didn’t grab every one of your free brain cells).

And then science weighed in (since it was done with footballs for the moment), giving us great eye-popping details about how we humans perceive such basic things as patterns and colors and how, when combined with more subtle factors such as how happy our childhoods were and whether or not we had fluoride in our water, helps explain why an enraged software engineer (who cannot be named because of pending litigation) threw a piping decaf macchiato across a crowded Starbucks in Des Moines and was totally justified in doing so because for goodness sake the dress was black and blue and any idiot can see that.

Yes, that was clearly sarcastic. Black-and-blue-dress sarcastic, like a big bruise. And bruises hurt, especially emotional bruises resulting from the kind of inane cyber-drivel that glutted the bandwidth of the planet regarding a certain fabric swatch that we were all fixated on but shouldn’t have been because, well, it was way beyond goofy.

I don’t wear dresses, but four of the most important women in my life wear them. They wear them because dresses help them look nice and they’re comfortable, and on some days even practical. They don’t wear them all the time, of course, but just often enough to make them feel cultured and classy. And we who love these four ladies give them compliments, and then they turn shyly and look down at their hems and say some modern variation of “Oh, this old thing” (except for the littlest one, who isn’t quite talking yet).

And what truly matters isn’t the hue of the dress but the human being which the dress so attractively graces.

What matters to me is that the woman inside my wife’s dress feels cherished and protected and adored every day, and that she knows that I would find her ravishing if she were wearing chartreuse burlap.

What matters to me is that the woman inside my daughter’s dress knows that I would step in front of a careening bus for her and that I couldn’t be more proud of her if she won a Nobel Prize and that I get all teary every time I pick up the phone and hear “Hi dad!”

What matters to me is that the woman inside my daughter-in-law’s dress knows that she is the one lady in all the world we would have picked for our son, and that we are proud that she has a husband that she can depend on and trust for her every need for the rest of her life.

What matters to me is that the little girl inside my granddaughter’s dress is always safe and always loved and always knows that her grandfather is happiest when he is inside an old refrigerator box with her while she is trying to put a bow in what little is left of his hair.

Maybe I’m getting old and sarcastic and cranky, but I just don’t care nuthin’ about the color of no dresses. Just the ladies inside ‘em.

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