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The Sun

When I was a teen living in Florida, I used to lie in the sun slathered with Crisco. Many of my friends used baby oil, but I prefered to fry. That's what we called it, too.

"I'm going to fry today."

I got burned a couple of times so badly, I remember them even now.

One was when I wore a tube top to give my butt-white belly a chance to tan. The burn was so painful, I couldn't even get near the friers at Popeye's Fried Chicken (where I worked at the time). I hated putting on that polyester top; itchy as hell!

Another time, I thought Vaseline was a great lip sunscreen and ended up with humongous blisters on my lips. Green, oozing wounds that took a couple of weeks to go away.

I was a lifeguard for a few summers and the most protection we ever used was some zinc oxide on our lips and nose once in awhile. No hat. No sunscreen. No umbrellas. No tee shirts.

Looking around at the Y where I swim, I am impressed with the information about the sun's damage actually being heeded. Everywhere, from swimmers to lifeguards to those watching are sitting under shades, wearing glasses, slathering with sunscreen and wearing hats and tee shirts. Kids especially are slathered within an inch of their lives.

I went out a few days ago and put some serious sunscreen on my bald head along with wearing a hat. I also put some face sunscreen on, but didn't put any on the rest of my body. I have this delusion that Southern California's sun ain't got nuthin' on a Florida August day. I got burnt.

We keep aloe gel (with lidocaine) in the fridge for just such occasions and I also got some lotion with aloe (a nice new product that was a long time coming). I didn't go in the sun for two days waiting for the redness to subside.

My dad has had several carcinomas removed from his head - ears, neck and face. My dad is Hispanic and I've always bragged about being a blue-eyed freckled girl who tans easily. But, if my dad - the 100% Hispanic - can get cancer, why the heck am I tempting fate by continuing to be in the sun without protection? Why do I still think a tan looks fabulous on me and I compare my arm to the others in my family?

Our whole family is now playing outside. Several of them are in the ocean body surfing, but I can't swim in water where I can't see the bottom, so I am relegated to the pool. Alone. What else is there to do but swim and swim? I can sit and relax in the sun and read. And tan.

At least I don't use Crisco anymore.

Reader Comments (2)

I use a product that blocks all UV rays of any kind. It's also loaded with vitamin C and green tea. I use it every morning religously. I don't want skin cancer.

July 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterWash Lady

LOL, i had that sunburn too. brown polyester Mc D's outfit. ditto the itchy and french frier!!!! ouch!

July 18, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

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