Tuesday, July 9, 2013

How'd It Get Burned? How'd It Get Burned?

I do know how *I* got burned. I went to the beach. For eight hours.

Mrs. The Anthony Show was with me, but she didn't get burned. Because she knows how to enjoy the sun without turning into this:


Here are a few safe-sun rules that she followed and I did not:
  1. She constantly reapplied sunblock.
  2. She moved from onto her stomach at a few points during the day.
  3. She did not sit like a statue (a statue of a seated person) in a fixed position the entire time.
Throughout our stay I didn't feel any different from other times I spent under the sun, but when I went to the bathroom shortly before we left and looked in the mirror and spotted a torso-sized port-wine stain, I knew I was in for some trouble.

The only thing that prevented an even worse situation (within most realms of possibility; I could have also been attacked by seagulls or there could have been a tsunami) was that above the neck, the sun spared me.

I had sun poisoning once before, when I fell asleep outside my dorm room on a balmy Buffalo day in May, which gave me nausea and a couple of teardrop blisters on my cheek near the jawbone.

This time, I had a row of small blisters right below my sternum, which for two days would open — because they were on a skin area that shifted often — and ooze, forming a line of light brown stain droplets across the middle of my shirt.

It also turned a seat belt into a torture device.

Friday was a nice day, a "beach day" as the locals say, but we stayed home to clean out the house. I didn't experience much pain, except for the few times I had to lift a heavy box and it pressed against you-know-where. Also, whenever I was outside and left the protection of the shade, on my chest it felt as if someone was stalking me with a large magnifying glass.

As I winced, I considered other chest-stressing activities that I was thankful to be avoiding, including:
  • Cage fighting
  • Holding a baby for an hour or more in order to get the damn thing to go to sleep
  • Crawling under barbed wire during one of those "mud runs" or while escaping a prisoner-of-war camp

Get on the good foot.
The wife wanted to spend Saturday at the beach, too. I'm not typically a beach fan, but with the kids away, I wanted to take advantage of every opportunity to enjoy some peace on the sand without being pestered to build a sandcastle or having to keep a watchful eye out for children swimming out too far or being snatched off the ground by seagulls.

This time, however, I brought a beach umbrella, and I was shielded from the sun as I finished rereading The Great Gatsby and plowed through The One, a James Brown biography I had on my nightstand since I got the book last Christmas.

I also kept my shirt on, which likely earned me the gratitude of everyone else at the beach.

We returned to the beach for a couple of hours on Sunday, and by the time we left, my chest felt as if things were getting better.

Yesterday evening, after I returned from work (and while the wife was at the beach after she finished her work), I mowed the lawn. As I prepared a post-mowing shower, I discovered this:

Missing from photo: a quarter, for
true coin-to-blister size comparison.
A quarter-sized blister on my shoulder, a few smaller blisters on one of my pecs, and several colonies of tiny blisters all over the front of my body.

By morning, most of the blisters shrank, and now they're just itching, and I'll have to resist the urge to rub my chest during public moments at work, though that activity might help thin out the line for the microwave at lunchtime. I'm sure peeling will begin to occur later in the week.

By then I'll be ready to sit under the sun again. Unless I require a biopsy.

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