The Color of Snack Cheese

The color of snack cheese (think Doritos) is hunter orange. Hunter orange being the blazing fluorescent color that hunters buy their clothes in so that other hunters won’t mistake them for anything remotely deer-like. And it’s the color they choose because it has never, in the history of our planet, occurred in nature. The wavelength of light that comes off a hunter’s vest and tells your eyes to show your brain hunter orange is a wavelength of light that was literally invented in 1972 (or whenever DuPont invented it). Light waves of that length had never existed, since the formation of the universe. Which makes it weird that Frito Lay would decide on this color for their chips. As though they need their chips not so much to look appetizing as to stand out against any possible background.
To most people, snack cheese=hunter orange. Doritos, Cheetos, Kraft Macaroni: all occur in hunter orange. And I’m willing to bet it’s not just people that have learned this association.
Nature has been reduced to an archipelago of well-spaced theme parks. Even standing in the middle of Yosemite or Arches, it’s an absolute triumph of the imagination to feel like you’re “in the middle of nowhere”; you could use the spinning pointer from Twister as a compass and within half an hour you’d run into either (a) a freeway, (b) a town, or (c) Chicago. There’s no border anymore between civilization and wilderness; animals that can live amongst us — birds, chipmunk, racoons, possums — do so, and the rest, the wolves and bears and lions, live in zoos or on preserves. Given this overlap of habitats, it’s safe to assume that animals have by now eaten plenty of Doritos and Macaroni out of dumpsters; or hell, from the hands of two year-olds sitting in the car with the window down while mom pays for the gas. And they’re starting to learn, some of them, that hunter orange is the color of snack cheese. So how fantastic is it going to be when packs of wild dogs and deer and coyotes start attacking hunters because they think they’re big delicious cheese mummies.