The superstition of chromatology (or whatever its adherents prefer to call it), whereby colour preferences indicate personality traits or future events, is as ludicrous as suggesting that any other sort of preference does the same thing. Like lots of people, I like trees and, amongst the many hundreds of species I’ve come into contact with, the cedar of Lebanon is amongst my favourites; I think it’s graceful and ‘powerful’ and that its growth style - the familiar layers of dark green branches - is extraordinarily pleasing to the eye. That, however, doesn’t make me any more graceful, powerful or pleasing to the eye than someone who prefers willows, deadly nightshade or nettles.
So susceptible are we to such demonstrably ridiculous superstitions that I think we could profitably start a new one of our own, based on trees. Arborology. It would work like this....
Winter babies are born at a time when only evergreens manage to flourish. They are therefore sturdy, strong, cool-blooded, dispassionate and even clinical. They would make good doctors or engineers. They are also tinged with good looks and unexpected charm; after all, the fragrant wytch hazel blossoms in midwinter. And so on and so on....
Another visitor to the Big Blue Bus many moons ago numerologised me. It’s not as traumatic as it sounds. The letters of your name are converted into numbers - thus A=1, B=2, C=3 and so on. These are then added together in various ways to determine what sort of person you are and what lies in store for you. Add the consonants together for your ‘outer’ personality - the ‘image’ you wish to create. Add the vowels for the ‘inner’ you. I am, apparently, a typical 7. Reserved, an avid reader, keen on music (especially opera) and team sports. After she left, I couldn’t stop laughing. She’d even told me I had a sister and refused to accept that I haven’t. ‘There must be something your mother hasn’t told you.....’
We stand at the dawn of 2008. Incredible though it is, there are still millions of people who firmly believe that a person’s whole life and personality are determined by the letters of their name or by the stars and planets in the sky.
Or even by the colours they are attracted to and the kind of trees that appeal to them.
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Ian Robinson, The Nightshift, BBC Radio Newcastle, Spital Tongues, Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE99 1RN
Please bear in mind that the views expressed in this blog are my own and NOT the views of the BBC.