Life Is Juicier When It’s Peeled
Summer is here and that means most pasty white people, myself included, have “get a tan” on their task list. Yes, tanning is an unhealthy aspiration, but in my defense, I don’t lay in the sun with the hope of turning heads at the beach (that ship has sailed, buttercup), I just don’t want to be responsible for blinding anyone—which is a real concern when I start peeling off the winter layers.
Trust me. You don’t want to see this chunk white tuna turned up bright.
So for the benefit of my fellow man, I tan. Sort of. What I really mean is . . . I fake it!
Jergens Natural Glow Moisturizer creates the appearance of a tan over the course of 5-7 days. There are other more expensive products that may work better, but this fits my budget and does a pretty good job of providing a sun-tanny glow.
Just for the record, the directions say you can use it all over. I use it only on my legs because they’re so bright they could double for glow sticks in the dark.
So, yeah, anyway, my tanned legs aren’t really tanned. Eventually, through incidental sun exposure, they’ll brown up a little bit. But that won’t occur until late August, and by then, who cares?
So what does this have to do with anything? Well, here’s the deal. As I slathered my legs with tanning moisturizer it occurred to me that fake suntans are the perfect reminder that we shouldn’t take things, or people, at face value. If something as trifling as suntanned legs cannot be counted on to be real, imagine how far off the mark we might be with the stuff that really matters.
It’s human nature to form opinions about the world around us. We all do it. We judge the knucklehead who speeds past us on the freeway at a breakneck pace and the woman downtown with the huge boobs who is wearing a too-tight shirt that makes her look like she’s cramming 10 pounds of sugar into a 5 pound bag. We envy the model-body coworker and, yes, the great suntan on the check-out girl at the market. And we do it all without effort. We just do.
And we shouldn’t. Because the speeding car may be steered by a dad desperate to meet his hurt child at the hospital; the big-breasted woman may be wearing the only shirt she owns; the perfect neighbor may suffer from bulimia; and that girl’s suntan might come from a tube.
From the standpoint of a writer, we expect our readers to make these judgments about the characters and circumstances we create; knowing that a reader will form an opinion in chapter one means that we may be able to drop a cool bombshell on him come chapter ten. We expect judgments and rely on them so we can lead readers down the path we want them to go. And that’s great—for fiction. It’s fun for the writer, and for the reader (what fan of Stephen King doesn’t love the surprises he springs?). But in real life, we do ourselves and those we judge a disservice by seeing only the surface.
So please, buttercup, don’t judge a suntan by it’s color.
Here’s today’s naked truth: Life is juicier when it’s peeled.
See you for next week’s naked truth about . . . Photoshop.
Hope you’re having a great Wednesday!