Tonight I was reminded of a story from my high school days which I gladly share at this time. It is a homeschool science lesson in the making, mixed with art and civics. Thank you for bringing this story to the forefront of today’s news, Connie, my partner in crime more than once in our late teen years.
It has escaped me where I obtained this gem of a fashion statement, but somehow I got my little 17-year-old hands on a pair of these stop sign sunglasses.
This is EXACTLY the pair that I chose to wear in high school. See how they have shatter-proof lenses? Safety first! See how it says for children 5 years or older. It should have said for children ages 5-15… let me explain.
The lenses on these beauties were green and they were quite dark, which aided my shielding of the bright California sunshine while donning them. One bright shiny day, I was cruising down El Camino Real in Sunnyvale, California (But not cruising at night on El Camino Real in Santa Clara….. that was naughty) minding my own business… wearing the above glasses… because I was fashion conscious. I’m sure I had on a red or white or royal blue Izod polo shirt with the collar turned up with a matching cherry red patent leather belt in the belt loops of my 501 Levi jeans. (Button fly! Rock on!)
Unusual, to be sure, the stoplights were out on El Camino that day! I was quite surprised that so many in a row were out… block after block. I approached each intersection with caution, stopped, looked both ways and proceeded with care.
Next thing I know there was an officer of the law flashing his blue lights at me in the rear view mirror. Odd. I had never seen them only flash blue. (Not that I had much experience being pulled over… ahem.) After pulling my car to the side of the road the nice police man came to chat with me. He asked why I was running all the red stop lights on El Camino. WHAT? “They were all out, officer! That is why I treated them like stop signs.”
Then I pulled off my awesome stop sign sunglasses and realized his patrol car WAS flashing red and blue… but I couldn’t see the red lights with the green lenses in my fashion eye wear. Figuring he would believe me as I made the discovery and explained it to him….. he simply stood there looking at me like I had used too much VO5 hairspray for too long in too small of a bathroom.
Finally, I handed him the glasses and offered, “See for yourself!” He did. He put them on, glanced around at his police car lights and the red street light in the next intersection, removed them and handed them back to me shaking his head.
The kind public servant did not give me multiple tickets for running multiple lights that day, but did instruct me to NEVER wear the stop sign sun glasses while driving! OKAY!
Here is the science lesson part of this story from physicsclassroom.com:
A pigment that absorbs a single frequency is known as a pure pigment.
Pigments absorb light. Pure pigments absorb a single frequency or color of light. The color of light absorbed by a pigment is merely the complementary color of that pigment.
And so, dear students, green lenses on fancy sunglasses shaped like stop signs absorb red traffic lights because green and red are complementary colors on the opposite sides of the color wheel. You cannot see red lights with these glasses on! Don’t try this at home!
Be safe! Don’t drive with green or red lenses! And there you have it, from the archives.