I often wonder how some people end up with great jobs, like the guy who gets to name paints. Nepotism? Is there some clandestine paint-naming-dude dynasty on which Michael Moore needs to shine a spotlight?
Or do you rise through the ranks, first naming those colored rubber-coated paperclips, then those colored sticky notes, until finally they trust you with the semi-gloss? I like to picture the job interview:
Paint company HR: “So, do you have any prior experience in naming?”
Applicant: “Well, I was the one who suggested Puff Daddy call himself “P. Diddy.”
HR: “Impressive. But that’s more in the realm of ‘revision.’ Have you ever named something original?”
Applicant: “My shin.”
HR: “And what did you name it?”
HR: “You’re hired.”
How else can you explain the following actual colors of house paint now available in stores—”Donut Hole” (brown), “Frog Toe” (green) and “Lost At Sea” (dark blue).
Somebody got paid for that, and that somebody did not even factor in the possibility of frosted donuts. Amateur. I could totally name paint.
Judging by some of the names, paint companies must think they need to give paint a name that is not just a color, but which evokes an emotional response, otherwise we would not have colors like “Zealot” (a dark bluish-green, for some reason) and “Tousled Mane” (brown) and “Slumber Party” (I forget the color, although if it bore any resemblance to a real slumber party, it would blend the orange of spilled soda, the red of pizza on the ceiling, and the green of 3 a.m. tummy trouble).
Who else could have thought up a shade of red called “Power Tie?” I could have! A light green called “Camp Socks?” Me! (Although considering you generally spend the whole week in the same pair, I would consider light green a bit optimistic).
Sometimes I wonder if the paint-namers spend a little too much break time down in the factory with the fumes, resulting in names like “Treehugger” (green) and “Fried Ravioli” (light brown) and “Interactive Cream” (beige). I shudder to guess whether that last one is for the bedroom or the bath.
While some companies go for edgy names, most seem sort of like your out-of-touch grandparents, trying to sound cool but hopelessly not, with colors like “Cyber Gray, ” “Digital Pink” and the blandly cryptic “Synergy. “
But you want paint colors with an emotional punch? I’ve got them, Dutch Boy! How about a reddish violet I like to call “Intemperance?” Or a frosty white like the essence of Canada itself—”Moose Breath.” Is that any stranger than actual colors like “Ferret,” “Hippo” and “Whale?”
I, for one, have always wanted to paint a bathroom in “Ennui.” Not to get all Andy Rooney on you, but didn’t paint stores used to have “Off-white?” Now they spice up off-white as “Sheer Scarf,” “Sand Pearl” and “Parachute Silk.”
And don’t even bother looking for “White.” Clearly, somebody at the paint companies must have beat up an Eskimo for snow synonyms.
I say if “Frog Toe” is a valid paint color, I have a few new shades of my own to propose:
But George, you say, once you have mastered paint-naming, what heights are left to you? What dreams could still enthrall?
I have one word for you—colognes. And after that—women’s hair coloring.
A man, after all, has only one short life.