Burnishing my look
I should be old enough, and smart enough, to know better.But no matter how many years are tacked on to my age, I can’t seem to learn my lesson about the harmful effects of the sun.You’d think if I can learn the difference between the chemical compound for tadalafil and sildenafil, I’d know how to avoid a sunburn.Scientific-communications editing at a pharmaceutical company offers more than free squeezy prostate-shaped stress balls and aromatherapy candles emblazoned with the erectile dysfunction drug’s logo.Monday I arrived at my desk, where the squeezy prostate sits for my stress-relieving purposes, wearing a sunburn like a scarlet letter sewn right over my face.Like adultery, overexposure to the sun will burn a person in the end.My head was pounding from the dehydration. I was feeling a little feverish as I took in smart-aleck advice by co-workers.”There’s this thing they sell in a bottle. I think it’s called sunscreen,” said my night editor. “Sometimes they even give it away for free at the bottom of the mountain.””No way,” I replied. “They have that stuff?”I didn’t have much of a defense. I heard the same comments last year after returning home from a Spring Break cruise to Nassau, Bahamas. My burn was much worse then, mostly because it extended past my cheeks to other uncomfortable places on my torso.That sunburn was not skiing related. Really, it had nothing to do with physical activity whatsoever. I’m embarrassed to say I had fallen asleep in a lounge chair during a boat ride where I didn’t even plant my feet on land.Nassau looked like a really nice place from the deck of the Fascination. Trying to see how many people could fit in the boat’s main hot tub and playing Beer Pong was much more of a priority than sight-seeing, apparently.I’m fair-skinned and freckled, so it takes some real effort to avoid a burn, especially that first scorcher of the season. Believe it or not, I didn’t just wake up fair-skinned and freckled on Sunday morning. I’ve kind of been this way since birth, so I’ve had plenty of practice avoiding sunburns.But here I am, a grown woman with a red bulbous nose like W.C. Fields and itchy skin like a person on a Gold Bond commercial. I’d be more proud if I were walking around Aspen with a friend who was wearing an “I’m With Stupid” T-shirt.In today’s melanoma-conscious society as opposed to, say, the ’80s the problem with walking around with a sunburn is the public admission of stupidity. It’s like I have stickers on my car that read “Ain’t skeered of ultraviolet rays” or show a picture of Calvin (from Calvin and Hobbes) urinating on the weird baby sun thing from the Teletubbies. It’s not like I’m walking around singing “I ain’t afraid of no heat stroke” to the tune of the Ghostbusters’ theme or anything.To say I feel pretty silly would be an understatement.I’m pretty embarrassed that my lazy derriere didn’t take two minutes to apply a little sunscreen before spending part of the day skiing and most of the afternoon aprés skiing. I’ve not only increased my risk of melanoma later in life, but now I look completely idiotic with anything other than a collared shirt and long sleeves.This, of course, will go on for days, and I can only hope I don’t suffer long-term effects. And, after reading this I can expect a serious lecture form my mom, who had basal cell carcinomas removed from her forehead and the tip of her nose from previous sun overexposure.I sure hope I’ve learned my lesson, yet again. Having a sunburn is about as cool as admitting I once thought Vanilla Ice was hot.But cool I am not especially right at this very moment.April E. Clark used to know all the words to “Ice Ice Baby.” She can be ridiculed at 945-8515 ext. 518, or firstname.lastname@example.org
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