Seeing orange: A fresh perspective on those pesky barrels

Summer has arrived. This is not a time for serious introspection or analysis. And you certainly will not find it in this blog post.

Summer is a time for all things frivolous and fun, right?

The kids are home from school. That’s fun, right? Right?

Mosquitos are out in full force.

The Brewers are … well … trying their best.

Those old familiar orange barrels are back out lining our streets and highways.

Wait a minute. This isn’t sounding fun or frivolous at all, is it?

Well, as they say, it is all in how you look at it.

Let’s take each of these things one by one.

Yes, kids at home all day can be a bit, shall we say, trying. But remember, they are yours, and someday, believe it or not, you will be pining for the days when their complaints of boredom reduced you to claiming that you never even had the luxury of indoor heating when you were young. So cherish that.

As for the mosquitos, use some Off! It works well, and you will be supporting a wonderful Wisconsin company in S.C. Johnson & Sons.

The Brewers? There’s still the second half of the season left and … anything can happen in sports.

The orange barrels? Well, just like with your offspring, it really is all in how you look at it. So I will ask you now: What do you think of when you are sitting in traffic looking at those orange barrels?

I conducted a brief, nonscientific survey of my own asking this very question of my close friends and colleagues. Let’s just say the majority of the answers I received cannot be printed in this wholesome, family-friendly blog. I informed my reluctant survey participants that perhaps what they see when they view these orange barrels says more about them than about the barrels. It’s kind of like the Rorschach psychology tests — you know, those inkblots that you are asked to interpret. The response that I received when I made this observation has led me to believe that I associate with some very aggressive if not borderline sociopathic people.

Therefore, before you consider your answer to my question, I ask that you ponder a few things.

First of all, let’s take the color orange. What does orange mean? If you Google this probing question, you will find, among other things, the following:

Effects of orange

Enthusiasm: Orange is optimistic and extroverted — the color of the uninhibited.

Rejuvenation: Orange helps to restore balance to our physical energies.

Stimulation: Orange is not as passionate or as excitable as red, but it is stimulating, particularly to the appetite — the worst color to have in the kitchen if you want to lose weight.

Courage: Orange helps us to take account of our lives, to face the consequences, to take action and make appropriate changes, and then to move onward and upward.

Vitality: Orange has a more balanced energy than red — not as passionate and aggressive, but full of vitality.



See? These orange barrels are really providing a public service to you as you listen to your favorite radio station in the comfort of your air-conditioned car and let the orangeness splash over you, rejuvenating you as you idle in the warm Wisconsin sun.

Now, when we think of barrels, what do we think of? Well, I also asked that question, and while I received a range of answers (none nearly as hostile as the answers to my first question), the number one answer was … you guessed it (we are from Wisconsin after all) “Roll out the Barrel.” Here is a video of Will Ferrell leading a Lambeau Field crowd in a great rendition of this Wisconsin classic. Notice that he appears to know not a single word of the song.

After pondering the meanings of both “orange” and “barrel” separately, you should now have the proper information to answer my simple question: What do you think of when you see an orange barrel?

Hopefully, you will now feel: enthusiastic, rejuvenated, courageous, and vital. If you don’t feel all of those things, perhaps you can think of the video of Will Ferrell leading the Packer fans in “Roll Out the Barrel” and maybe crack a smile.

At least it may stop you from thinking all the profane things I heard from friends and family whom I so innocently asked the question before I enlightened them with all this information.

Of course, orange barrels should make us think of slowing down. The men and women beside these barrels are out working to improve our roadways and make them better and safer. Those people working to improve our roads are indeed someone’s mom or dad or brother or sister.

So have a great summer. Remember to look at things in a positive light. Light, by the way comes from the sun, which is, well, kind of orange. Orange you glad I didn’t say yellow?

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