My very capable executive assistant Andrea told me today that the natural state of ripe oranges is Green. “So why are they called ‘oranges?” I asked. She quite calmly and confidently asserted that oranges are called that because of the colour inside, not because of the skin. She added pointedly that she has always known this. She, 33. Me, ten years older and clearly misinformed. Then, squeezing more out of this advantage, she said, “And most people know this.” Apparently, the skin of an orange is only orange because of a chemical dye used to make it attractive for sale. She pulled it up in wikipedia. Pointed to it. Shattered my fragile sense of reality. Silly me; all these years I thought oranges were, well, Orange.
I have to say that I was shaken by this today. I mean, I know that “from concentrate” means “including the peel and the seeds in your morning beverage too” (something my wise wife has drilled into me in 11 years of marriage), but the notion that oranges are green — THAT shook me today, to the pulp.
Could it be true that something so obvious could be false? How could it be that all these years I’ve thought oranges were orange, that they would hang all cheery and plump and warm and inviting from branches — that people with sun-kissed skin would meander calmly through rows of trees and reach up to gently twist these little ripened orbs to place them lovingly into baskets destined for tissue-stuffed boxes to be sent to my local Loblaws.
Don’t take this away from me, Andrea. I have to look into this some more.