No matter where one lives everyone knows the routine for fun in the sun. Shades, hat, and the all important sunscreen tend to be needed is some combination or the other. The lack of any one isn’t usually fatal–that’s what a tan is for, right? Yet, when your someone like me and are only a couple shades from being designated an albino, missing any of these, but especially the sunscreen, can be a down right disaster.

I’m still a very active person, but when I was a kid I spent a great deal of time outdoors and a great deal less applying sunblock or using a hat. And I learned on more than one occasion that being in the shade doesn’t protect you from being burned.

A particularly bad episode occurred on a family vacation. We were at Busch Gardens in Florida. We’d been walking around in the summer heat for hours and I–thinking that a hat would be sufficient–wore a sleeveless shirt without bothering to apply sunblock of the highest magnitude. I was more enamored with the attractions than the sun grilling the environment with no clouds in the sky. I just wanted to have fun.

Eventually–as it does with all late ideas–it occurred to me that this wasn’t the most brilliant decision that I’d ever made. So, when we were taking a break in the shade, I asked my mother for the sunblock I’d seen her use. Her response, you don’t need it. I may’ve not needed it then, but thirty minutes later I certainly did. When I glanced at my shoulders they were dark red. I pointed this out to my mother who then ablated and gave me the sunblock, but the damage had already been done.

After we had returned home several days later I glanced at my shoulders only to make a shocking discovery. The skin was peeling. Apparently, I’d cooked my shoulders so badly that I’d developed a pair of blister burns. They didn’t hurt, the only thing I was fortunate for in the experience, but it was a life long lesson. Wear sunscreen, wear a hat, and do not walk around for hours in a sleeveless shirt in the middle of the summer!

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Disclaimer: I do not own the imagery in this blog and have no artistic claim to it.

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