Here Comes the Sun

Friday, January 15, 2010 | 0 Comment(s)

The benefit of having one of my great great great grandparents wander the desert for 40 odd years is that my skin tone is faintly Semitic, i.e. there is a olive-ishness to my hue.  This allows me a little bit of carte blanche when it comes to sun exposure.  I say a little bit, as having an oncologist father certainly keeps the reality of melanoma never far from my consciousness.  But, as far as my sins are concerned, on the few days that I am lucky enough to have the sun's rays beat down upon me, I often am a bit careless about sunscreen protection.  Which is to say that I may get a bit of unprotected sunshine in the morning or at the end of the day (I always apply sunscreen when out bet 11-2).  The sum total of the damage is usually a nice even tan and a  sometimes peel-y nose.  No biggie. 

This is not true for all people.  Take, say, my gf for example.  Her ancestors being from the powder wigged culture of the "old country" and it's surrounding islands (the U.K.), has a much different relationship with Apollo's chariot of fire.  There is no room for carelessness in her sun fun.  A few hours of unprotected sun exposure and she is a boiled lobster recoiling at even the faintest touch.  I liken her relationship with the sun to trying to perfectly brown a marshmallow over a campfire.  It takes an incredible amount of time and patience to get it perfectly browned.  But, more realistically, the idea that you can perfectly brown a marshmallow over an open flame without it catching on fire is a myth.  It's impossible.  It will, at some point, catch on fire (at least briefly).  And while the vast majority may be that beautiful brownish gold, some areas will be bubbly carbon colored (my favorite part of the mallow fyi [and you remember how much i love the mallow]).  Now substitute "British/Irish/Scottish skin" for "marshmallow," and you have my gf's sun dilemma. 

I tell you all this as background to a view observations I have made recently.  My gf (and myself on occasion) wears a rashy when we go snorkeling.  This is a water friendly shirt (long-sleeve in this case) that one usually uses when surfing, in order to prevent a rash caused by paddling while lying on your board.  It also is effective as a way to block the sun while snorkeling.  When I looked closer at her rashy, it reads "50+ UV sun protection."  I find this extremely funny.  I'm no sun expert, but I was told on more than one occasion that anything above 45 is just the same as 45, in terms of UV.  But, to be honest, I have no idea why.  And that's not really the point.  The point, to me, is that when I am wearing a shirt, I believe my chest under that shirt is completely blocked from the sun.  As in, there is no sun reaching my chest.  If a shirt is only 50+ sun protection, what is a door?  Or a roof for that matter?  Should the roof of the hosue here read 70+ UV protection.  Is cement like 425,390+ UV protection?  I don't know, but I think I am going to start stamping everything un-translucent with UV protection signs.  This lawnmower provides great grass-cutting services, and, if you lay underneath it, it gives 129+ UV protection . . . on second thought, maybe this is a bad idea.

Additionally, I discovered that, for the light skinned, sun avoidance is a full time job.  Example #1: 'My gf'
When I awoke in the late morning the other day, I looked over and saw my lovely gf as such (we live in sin).  Now, if we can ignore for a moment the incredible amount of cover-stealing involved in creating such a thorough gf cocoon, we should deal briefly with my reaction to seeing such a sight.  At first glance, it appears as if some gigantic crafty spider caught her in her sleep and crocheted her into a knitted cocoon for later consumption.  Alternatively, it came to me that potentially she might have been a great Pharaoh who led her people to mountains to discover sheep and thus opened up a new market of wool garments.  Upon her demise, her people wrapped her in the fruits of her discovery in order to later bury her under a pyramid of looms, dark-framed glasses, and Pavement LPs. 

In actuality, I thought she was trying to avoid the mosquitoes, which apparently were present in that 40 year trek RE: the desert, and have a particular affinity for my Semitic blood over the British stuff (what culture HASN'T had the taste for Semitic blood though, right?).  This, it turns out, was not the real reason.  Apparently, the sun was shining in through the window (we unabashedly sleep late on vacation) and she was attempting to be diligent in her sun protection.  Little did she know that that blanket is only 35+ UV protection. 

And don't think that she was the only one hiding under wraps.  This unidentified young lady also knows how to show the sun whose boss:
She, like Tony Danza, is the boss.

The moral of the story.  UV protection is an emerging market.  And if we can terrify enough people to fear the sun, we can make a killing on UV protecting clothes, houses, and potentially even lawn care items.

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