All the colours in the world

I swear this is not related to April Fools. Indeed, if it was a joke it is far too cruel a one to be played on April 1. In case you missed the news, Crayola is retiring the ‘dandelion’ crayon from the box of 24. Apparently, this is only the third instance of booting a crayon off the colour chart since 1903 when they first came on the market, which should be a general indication that Crayola doesn’t commit crayonicide with abandon. But when you delve a little deeper into the history of crayon ‘retirement’ things take a bit of a sinister turn.

Dandelion is of course a yellow hue. The list of previously ditched colours reads like this: maize (sounds pretty yellow to me), raw umber (usually connoting a yellowish brownish colour darker than ochre), and orange yellow (which even has yellow in its name!). It does not take advanced powers of deduction to see what is playing out here: a yellow-toned fatwa.

A new box of crayons is a thing of beauty. All those pristine cones of colours in fresh colour-coordinated wrappers just waiting to be ground to a grubby nub. Or at least some of the colours end up ground to a grubby nub and others languish in the box, unable to find a purpose in life. Over their lifetime of availability, crayons have been packed in boxes of 2 up to 200. The 200 package was a bit of an anomaly as it also contained ‘special effect’ versions like glitter and neon, which of course have no business even calling themselves crayons. But I digress. Currently the sizes available are 8, 16, 24, 48, 64 and 120, or all multiples of eight. I don’t know what is wrong with 32 or 40 or 56 or 72 or 80 or 88 or 96 or 104, or you get the gist of my logic, but I guess they had to choose a reasonable number of sizes and call it a day. Although, I think it can be argued that anything above 24 is a little excessive (does the average colouring book really require an accurate selection of orange-red versus red-orange?)

Anyhow, back to the fate of dandelion. Further research has revealed that if you need this particular hue of yellow you can just buy a bigger box. Or even better, get on the marketing bandwagon associated with the retirement announcement and buy a 2 pound dandelion mega-crayon or if that isn’t enough yellow wax to suit your artistic purposes, order a limited edition box of 64 dandelion crayons, which is surely enough to out last even the most fanatical crayoner’s lifetime needs for a yellow that falls somewhere between goldenrod and just plain yellow.

Come to think of it, I do remember goldenrod being one those crayons that had a particularly extended lifespan. It is kind of orangy but not quite as orangy as orange-yellow. Not really yellowy enough for respectable rays of sun. And maybe that’s where dandelion missed the mark. So I was perhaps too hasty in accusing Mr. Crayola of an anti-yellow bias. Sorry about that.

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