Growing up in the 80's, tanning was still the thing you did in the summer. As soon as the temps went up, the girls got out the Coppertone oil, grabbed their bathing suits and laid out in their chaise lounges in the backyard. Sunscreen was for wusses!
I was so pale I could get mistaken for paper, but despite that, I always thought every summer was the summer I was going to get that elusive tan. I went after it like 'squach hunters go after Sasquatch...only with less feces in the woods. I was determined every summer was the one!
Tans were so important that I dreaded going to school during summer and shorts season more than any other season of the year. Even though we had summer breaks, you still had a little overlap where you had no choice but to wear shorts or die of heat exhaustion. Air conditioning back then wasn't what it is now. It was non-existent in buses. Then there was gym and recess...well, you get the point.
Over the years, I had my fair share of teasing and bullying, but one of the insults that sticks in my head was a boy who called me, "Albino." Now in restrospect it seems kind of tame, but for some reason it was so insulting at the time, I've never forgotten it.
Wanting a tan made me do very strange things. My mom brought over some more pictures the other day and I found this one:
As soon as I found this picture, I groaned at my past self, "Oh Dear God, why?"
I remember this picture and this day. It was at a family cookout (which is why my late uncle is letting my cousins out of our little kid prison--er, I mean our tent trailer that we opened up in the middle of our backyard...because that's how we rolled back in the day) and I wanted my face to get tanned. So instead of waiting for a time when I was alone and nobody could witness my psycho sun worshiping, I did it in front of everyone. And I can't say I did it for a short period of time. This went on for awhile! Way too long.
As you can tell by my pale, freckled (albino) face, it was pretty much a waste of time. But thanks to the magic of photography the moment has been framed forever...and ever.
Maybe I can tell people I was doing yoga... It's the sitting down warrior pose! Yes, that's it....