To me, the start of summer only means one thing: 90 straight days of mind-blowing sunburns.
As an embarrassingly pale man, getting a sunburn is about as easy as beating Shaq in a game of ‘Horse.’ I needn’t be outside for more than a picosecond to instantly transform my baby-smooth exterior into a mass of pink, stingy nerve endings. From June 3, right up until September 10, I’m rendered freakish and unpleasant in the eyes of friends and neighbors; invitations to parties cease and desist. Nobody wants to see Old Creepy McBurnyface singing karaoke; it tends to bring down a room.
The term ‘tan’ is not in my vocabulary. This word means nothing to me; sort of like ‘zork’ and ‘scalene.’ Unless I liberally lubricate my pores with SPF-Nuclear Holocaust lotion, I’m screwed.
A few years ago, me and the Missus went to an outdoor concert. I asked her to put lotion on my face, making sure she knew how susceptible I was to UV rays. She did not take this warning seriously, and carelessly streaked a few drops of lube across my melon. When the show was over, it looked as if I wanted to highlight certain parts of my forehead that were more important than the others.
And now, an awful story from my childhood.
In the late 80’s to early 90’s, I helped out on my family’s dairy farm during the summer. One summer weekend in particular left me with the Queen Mother of all sunburns on my legs. I had been wearing shorts, and the result left me looking like I was wearing a permanent pair of red socks. from the knees to the ankles, I was charred beyond recognition.
I took care of my crimson legs for days on end, gently soaking and aloe-izing them before I went to bed each night. Even at such a young age, I was an expert at the art of third-degree burn treatment. I had experienced many a sunburn by that point in my life, but I knew that this one was different- even special, somehow. I didn’t realize why I felt that way until the big day finally came.
I woke up on a humid Sunday morning and swung my wok-fried stumps over the edge of the bed. That’s when I noticed the beginnings of a peel on each of my calves. Wide-eyed, with a skilled and steady hand, I proceeded to peel off my skin like an honest-to-goodness sock, producing two snake-like sheddings, each about a foot long. It took me about a half-hour, and they were absolutely beautiful. I held these giant hunks of flesh up for inspection, and everything suddenly became well worth the wait.
I couldn’t let these go to waste. I had to do something with them. But what?
My attention focused to the small, black-and-white television I had in my room. The reception from this TV was horrible, and no matter which way I manipulated the rabbit ears, I got nothing but static and white noise. However, I did notice that the picture came in much better as long as I kept my hands on the antennas.
Scientifically speaking, I now know that the reason for this is because we humans give off a certain amount of electricity, which acts as kind of a booster for the TV antenna. As a child, all I knew was that I couldn’t hold onto the antenna and watch the tube at the same time. Perhaps I could fake the TV out somehow, by making it think I was holding onto the rabbit ears.
I think you know where I’m going with this.
Imagine the look on my Mom’s face when she walked into my room, only to see me watching a television with two giant balls of human skin affixed to the antennas.