If the major news outlets are to be believed – and in my experience, they rarely are, but we won’t let that stop us – temperatures across the United States are trending…warmish. Downright hot, even. So hot one finds oneself wondering if an elected official neglected to close the portal to hell after his/her last conversation with the party boss.
Regardless, if the ambient temperatures for the last week have taught me one thing, it has taught me that scientists, parents, and pediatricians the world over have no idea what they’re talking about. Contrary to their recommendations, playing outside is not an activity that lends itself to a long and healthy life. And at the risk of putting too fine a point on it, I believe it’s safe to say that the fault here rests entirely with the sun.
There are numerous problems with the sun that someone really should look into. It’s too hot, too bright, and will someday grow to a hundred times its present size, swallow the Earth, and abruptly herald the doom of the human race. These are not the sort of traits one generally wants in a neighbor, cosmic or otherwise.
Oh, it also causes cancer.
Speaking of, and from a more immediate perspective, there is also the slight issue that the sun puts out enough ultraviolet radiation to cook a twenty pound turkey, or your average Wal-Mart shopper, in less than twenty minutes. Catch some rays, you say? No, given the preponderance of the evidence to the contrary, I think I’m going to do everything in my power to avoid them.
Ostensibly, there are a couple lines of products that exist and attest to the fact that we are in orbit around a colossal, ornery ball of harmful radiation. There are sun block lotions, which exist to thwart the sun, as much as a celestial body devouring four million tons of matter per second can be thwarted. And there are suntan lotions, which allow applicable members of the human race to fulfill their fantasy of being reincarnated as a half rack of ribs.
On the subject of suntan lotions and ribs, there is a name for substances like suntan lotion in cooking, and I believe it is “marinades.” These are substances applied to food items, generally meat, immediately prior to exposure of said food items to vast levels of heat or radiation. The idea, more often than not, is to discourage the food item in question from bleating or bleeding – hopefully both. Suntan lotion yields much the same result. The only difference is, due to the upper atmosphere, it just takes thirty or forty years at eighty degrees as opposed to twenty minutes at four-hundred-fifty.
Of course, this process can be accelerated through the use of an indoor tanning bed, which, if another digression into the cooking world can be forgiven, can be accurately compared in form and function to a mutant combination of a human-sized microwave and a George Foreman grill. Lector should buy stock. However, I will refrain from a discourse on the questionable ideas associated with tanning. To be honest, it’s quite easy to be somewhat jealous of the industry as a whole – there is an actual market for bombarding people with harmful radiation. Worse, I, being both introvert and misanthrope, didn’t think of it first.
But to end the digression and return to chemical ways to slow the onslaught of our closest star, the theory is that suntan lotion is better than nothing. Heck, both it and sun block even come in a spray-on form. You know – for those of us uncomfortable asking strangers for help covering regions evolution has left us unable to reach without the aid of a long stick. This is all well and good, but it increases the hazards associated with going outside. Seventy-some-odd percent of the compounds in pressurized cans in my home exist for the sole purpose of killing things that look like this.
I am not comfortable in my ability to distinguish, at least when in a hurry, the difference between sun block and Raid. Give me a week, and the earwigs will have a lovely tan, and I’ll be lying on the floor with my legs up and my arms crossed. Worse, I don’t know where my wife is going to find a paper towel big enough to get me to the trash can.
Needless to say, it seems that the best course of action, at least in regards to the sun, is to simply avoid that wretched burning sphere all together. So ignore your parents and stop listening to your doctor. Don’t head outside for exercise or play or to interfere in the mint patch’s desire to run wild and free into your neighbor’s yard. You probably never liked them anyway. Sit down in front of that television, open up another can of Pringles, and be secure in this little nugget of truth: no one ever got cancer from a liquid crystal display. Because if they did, there would be a spray-on lotion to stop it.