Sunburn is a Bitch

I could stop with the title and most of my fair-skinned readership (all three of you) would understand. But let’s face it, brevity is not one of my strong points. This is a blog after all, so the soul of wit must take a back seat.

The world is divided into two types of people when it comes to the sun’s rays. There are those who start off dark and just get toasty brown, or have an olive complexion that simply becomes a deeper shade of golden. These people glow as if they carry the sun with them. Is it wrong to wish melanoma on these gods and goddesses? Even if it’s benign? All right, all right…

Then there are the rest of us, the ones for whom the sun is an enemy. The SPF-1000 crowd. The ones who have to wear a shirt and a hat while we swim. The ones searching in vain for a shady place on a crowded beach. Guess which faction I belong to? I’ll give you a hint, I take after my mother’s lily-white Irish side and I am almost completely bald. So yes, I burn like a lit match. From the top down.

Because God likes a good joke (or because of natural selection, I can’t decide), there always seems to be at least one type of each sibling in any given family. I am the eldest of five Irish-Italian mutts (“gimmicks” we were called), three of whom took after the swarthy, Mediterranean Neapolitans and two of whom couldn’t tan if you lit us on fire. I, in particular, ended up so sickly white that I am ofter asked by complete strangers to cover my legs in public so people can read poolside without the glare. Of course I have a normal looking nose and my thighs don’t go straight into my ankles, but that’s fodder for another day.

I married another lily-white Irish rose (who somehow doesn’t burn) and together we had two boys, both of whom look like the spit out of Ireland’s mouth. However, the younger boy has a mile-wide streak of Italiano (“I’m sorry Mychal, what did you say?” “Forget it! Now I wouldn’t tell you if you were the last person on earth.”) and the eldest burns in the winter. We went to my father’s house to swim Sunday and both boys spent the exact same amount of time in the sun. I lubed up my eldest boy with suntan lotion because he seemed to be turning medium-rare, but it didn’t matter. One came out like a toasted almond bar and the other now has liquid-filled boils adorning his shoulders. The sibling inequality strikes again.

Poor Conor is not one to take illness or pain in stride. He can run headlong into a wall and break every bone in his body without shedding a tear, but if something non-life-threatening happens to him he completely falls apart. He’s a moaner. Perhaps you’ve known one, or are currently sitting in a jail cell facing life because you’ve choked one to death. I’m sure he will eventually understand his pain in relation to how much the world could give two shakes, but right now if it’s his problem it’s OUR problem. Luckily the mix of medication and a comfy couch set up by Mary El sent him prematurely into la-la land, where he remained for the worst of it. He’s going back to baseball practice today so he’s doing much better, thanks for asking.

Our middle-aged star is a dangerous ally. Sure it provides warmth and allows life to propagate at a rather alarming rate. However it has its dark side…OK, bad metaphor, but you get my drift. Just when you have that perfect, cloudless, warm but not too hot day that somehow miraculously coincides with a day off and a preconceived plan of action; just when you think, “It’s so nice out, perhaps I can take my shirt off and enjoy the sun on my torso,” you’re struck down by killer UV rays and become an overdone kabob on the sun’s personal skewer. At least half of you do, while the rest laugh at their stricken brother or sister. The sun never promised anybody a rose garden.

    • theresa petti butler galimi
    • May 20th, 2012

    love it

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