In our house, we stream YouTube TV. Occasionally, a gray screen will appear and let us know there’s a commercial in progress. I’m not quite sure why we’re not seeing it, but I have to admit it’s kind of nice to just have 30 seconds of quiet broken only by soft accompanying music.

With those moments of peace surrounded by the chaos of world events serving as a template of sorts, I thought I’d forego comments on the news of the day and concentrate on other items of great interest to much of the population. There are, after all, many important issues we all need to know about that have nothing whatsoever to do with laws or lawmakers, science or scientists.

First up is something I know you’ve been on the edge of your seat wondering about. Well, the official colors for the new year have been voted upon by the fine folks at Pantone. (Alas, it seems no mail-in ballots were allowed.) They picked two this year, which is news by itself. Normally, only one color gets special treatment. But not so with 2021. And the winners are: Ultimate Gray and Illuminating! The first hue kind of speaks for itself. The second, however, is actually a member of the Yellow family.

Just so there’s no confusion, Ultimate Gray is not to be confused with other grays. Warm, cool, lead, agate, crystal, silver, chateau, opal, mirage, frost, flint, shadow, sky, steel, granite, lilac and dapple grays didn’t make the cut. The same holds true for Illuminating. It won out over such popular favorites as tender, wax, dusty, canary, oil, misted, primrose, mineral, golden, honey, spruce, radiant, amber, buff, yolk, vibrant, blazing, pastel, elfin, and the favorite of soft drink and singer Donavan fans everywhere, mellow.

Those in the know at Pantone apparently thought that no one color could completely capture the situation in the world right now. A very dark color may have been appropriate for most of our moods, but it really can be a bit much when splayed on walls and ceilings and furniture and wherever else the colors of the year are put to good use.

In past years, when two colors have been chosen, they’ve complemented each other. No doubt you well remember that in 2015, Rose Quartz and Serenity were co-winners. (Pink and blue, basically.) But forget about that works-well-together stuff in 2021. Nope. While there may be an argument made that Ultimate Gray and Illuminating could be used side-by-side, they are actually meant to stand on their own.

According to reports, one of the Pantone decision-makers said that Ultimate Gray is the kind of gray of wisdom and intelligence (such as gray beards and intelligence). “It’s a dependable gray.” Illuminating was likened not to egg-yolk nor highlighter yellow nor even “go into the light” of the great beyond even. It’s more of a sunshine or smiley-face yellow.

Now that you’re aware of such useful news, you may also want to be armed with the knowledge of what’s hot this year for your feet. Above all else, Crocs are big. You know, those clunky yet comfortable sandal-style foot caressers? I guess it stands to reason. I mean, how many of us are actually wearing work shoes that approximate the footwear required in offices? Even sneakers can be too confining. Crocs have thus emerged as the go-to shoe for all those Zoom calls. Hey, as long as you’ve combed your hair and put on an unwrinkled shirt or blouse, it doesn’t matter what else you’re wearing. Even getting ready for church now means cinching up your bathrobe and tuning in on your TV or computer.

You may already be aware you can get Crocs in every conceivable color, including Pepto-Bismol pink (platform versions) and marble (covered in rough stones). But wait. There’s more. Extensive research has shown that Crocs has also tagged-team with musicians. So, there are the Bieber, the Bad Bunny, the Luke Combs, and the Post Malone versions to cover the gamut from pop to hip-hop.

In other fashion news, floral shirts are making a return appearance. Ditto relaxed tailoring. (Thank goodness. There are only a very small number of people who can pull off form-fitting clothes. The rest of us look as if we should have been dieting for months.) Vertical stripes are “in.” As are outdoor-inspired clothes. (Don’t worry, you don’t actually have to go on a hike or anything.) Socks, of all things, are back. Also, pinstripes, checks, and lots of pockets.

Okay, there you go. A brief diversion from the usual. Feel free to now return to your originally scheduled outrage at the current or previous administration.


Bill Lewis is a freelance writer in Marietta. See more of his work at


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