Underrated Orange

by Bob Smiley as told to Bob Smiley

Orange is the most popular color this fall. At least, I hope it is. That’s the color of my desk, chair, hair and half of my clothes.

I really like my new art class. Mrs. Mache (no, her first name isn’t Papier) plays this game where she shouts out random words. Then she points to one of us, and we say the first word that pops into our heads.

Earlier today, she yelled, “Platypus!” then pointed to Clay. He quickly shouted “Perry!” Then she yelled, “Hip,” and pointed to me. “Popotamus,” I answered. (I’m not very good at the game yet.)


We’re doing a painting this week. Mrs. Mache listed a bunch of ideas on the board. I chose “a bowl of oranges,” because fruit is good for you and fun to draw.

I started with the bowl. It looked good, but Wendy asked why I was drawing a warped canoe.

“I have to use it to cross the river to get to the oranges I’m going to paint,” I explained.

Once I finished the canoe-bowl, I drew my circles that were just one color away from becoming a fruit. But when I went to get the can of orange paint, I made a huge mistake.

Mrs. Mache has one rule: She gets to open the paint cans. She had opened all of the colors except orange when Glasses asked her for help. I decided to open the last can myself. Well, I guess this paint had been cooped up like a prisoner for too long. Once it smelled freedom, it burst out of the can! That, or I’m just a lot stronger than I thought.

Anyway, the lid flew up in the air. I quickly tried to catch it, but forgot to let go of the paint can first. About halfway up, the can slipped and came crashing down. Orange paint flew everywhere!

Mrs. Mache quickly pointed to me and shouted, “Nooooo!”

Playing her fun game, I shouted back, “Wayyyyy!”


Turns out, she wasn’t playing the game. Just reacting to the mess.

I learned three things today:
1. Oil-based paint doesn’t wash off easily . . . especially out of hair. I’m going to look like a rock star for a few days. (Hey, “Oil-Based Explosion” would make a great band name!)
2. Mrs. Mache is very forgiving.
3. Adults make rules for a reason.

Sometimes I think rules are made just to keep us from doing things. But that’s not it. Adults know things we don’t and put rules in place to keep us safe . . . and less orange.

This article originally appeared in the October 2012 issue of Focus on the Family Clubhouse magazine. Copyright © 2012 by Bob Smiley. Used by permission. Illustration © Gary Locke.