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The Power of Purple: Harold and the Purple Crayon Socks

I cast off my Harold and the Purple Crayon socks this week.  I purchased the yarn, not so much for the color, but for the book it celebrates.  While there’s nothing wrong with purple, and truth be told, I used to love that color, I have grown less enamored with it the older I get.

Desert Vista Dyeworks Harold and the Purple Crayon

Of course it’s not purple’s fault.  Purple’s innocent, a victim of color crime, if you will.  See, in my circle of work, people have manipulated and exploited this color to justify behaviors that, in other professional settings, would not be tolerated.  For me, purple conjures obstinacy, entitlement, and narcissism. 

You may wonder what could happen to taint this color.  Well about ten years ago, a former colleague introduced me to her passion for purple pigment.  Perhaps passion is not strong enough.  She worshipped at the altar of purple.  

She organized her entire life around it.  She said it was freeing; it simplified the number of choices she had to make.  To illustrate – she required that all her office supplies (pens, pencils, highlighters, paper clips, pushpins, staples, file folders, notepads) be purple, or a variant thereof.  While her gel ink pens were violet, her files were lavender.  Each day she came into the office, her clothing, her accessories, even her makeup were all purple.  Her house – the wall colors, the carpeting, the furniture – yep, you guessed it: it all revolved around purple.  I never saw her kitchen, but I always wondered about her appliances, since most manufacturers feature white, black, or stainless.  But I guess with enough money, she could have custom ordered a purple refrigerator or stovetop.  Anyway, I digress.  Back to my purple prejudice... 

When it came to working with her, I found her inflexibility for non-purple colors extended to other ideas, like how to make health insurance adequate, accessible, and affordable.  We surveyed lots of options, but invariably, she dismissed any and all that were not her own.
So with a deadline approaching, I decided to add some perspective, infuse some color to our conversations.  I slipped some non-purple folders into her office.  Mind you, they were purple’s derivatives – red and blue.  Surely those colors would be acceptable to the purple haze that was her office, for without these primaries, purple would cease to exist!  And this is the very explanation I gave to Human Resources when they served me with my colleague’s grievance.  I was summarily punished by purple.  I’m sure I could have fought the grievance, but based on in-house counsel’s suggestion, I removed the offending folders from my colleague’s office and delivered a handwritten apology for perpetuating a hostile, non-purple work environment. 

Surely, this purple fixation is rare.  What are the chances of meeting someone else possessed by purple?  Well, I’m here to tell you, if you’re me that it is, the odds are very good.  Now at a different office (and lest you think my move have anything to do with my purple punishment, it did not), I was introduced to another person with a proclivity for all things purple.  Head to toe, she’s cloaked in purple.  Her pens.  Her notepad.  All purple.  I would say more, but there are not enough crayons in the crayon box, I assure you. 

But I believe these purple people are contributing factors for why my stash is lacking in this color. There’s a time and a place to live within the lines, but I’ve found some of my best experiences are those when I colored just outside them.  And bottom line, for me, life is more fun when it’s lived in color.  Bon tricot.


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