It’s been brutally hot in Columbus the past few days, with the mercury reaching the high side of 90. As a result, I’ve gotten my first sunburn of the season.
There are people who can “lay down a base” without getting burned and gradually get darker and darker, without telltale peeling, as the summer progresses. It’s as if they have special tanning knowledge, passed down from generation to generation like the Rites of Ephesus.
I’m not one of those people. I go directly from winter white to a blazing brick red that quickly peels off in great, sweeping curtains of skin the size of dish towels that you can roll up and toss in the waste basket. After that distasteful condition passes, I’m set for the summer with a permanent ruddy red face.
This happens no matter what I try. Today, for example, I smeared heaping handfuls of Coppertone on head, ears, face and neck in hopes of avoiding the burn. After a few moments in the sun playing golf, however, my sweat glands kicked into high gear and the resulting cascade of sunscreen runoff left me partially blinded and milky eyed. After swabbing the perspiration off with a towel, I may as well have not applied any suntan lotion in the first place.
And now I sit, with that fine, bright burning feeling on my skin, waiting for the peeling to begin. Summer has arrived.