November 6, 2010

For the love of three oranges …

It turns out you can have a whiter shade of pale, and grass that is greener on the other side.  You can have redder blood than I; tell bluer jokes, and have a blacker heart.  Your face can be pinker, browner, yellower, or even greyer.
But... there's no such word as ‘oranger’.  What crazy system is this?  How can I compare two things, both of which largely reflect light at a wavelength between 585 to 620 nm, but one noticeably more so than the other?  How am I supposed to differentiate between half-hearted and fervent supporters of the Dutch royal family?  What sort of an impoverished tongue is it, in which we cannot point out that both these oranges are orange, but this orange is the oranger orange?  It's an outrage.  I accept, to appreciate the enormity of this situation you may need to be an insomniac. 
You try  to defeat your insomnia by playing word games in your head, such as the one where you build up a word by adding a letter at a time, each time creating a valid word; and to have believed last night that you had smashed your previous record with the sequence 'a, an, ran, rang, range, orange, oranger, orangery'.  Until you checked the dictionary this morning and discovered this OUTRAGEOUS GAP IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE.