Thursday, August 8, 2013

Living breathing ad for sunscreen.

Edith Vonnegut's Sunblock

I can burn after 2.5 minutes of sun exposure. This is not hyperbole.  The sun in 2013 is different than when I was a kid.  Sure I used to burn if I went completely without sunblock, but it wasn't in 2.5 minutes, I can tell you that.  I lived in California for two years in the early 80s and came back a nice deep... beige.  I ain't a tanner.  I'm a gal who really needs to have the baby sunblock (SPF 50 or higher) slathered all over my person.

Last weekend we entered a sand castle competition in our small provincial town.  We liberally sprayed sunblock 50 all over each other.  David rubbed my back,  I rubbed his back and then Rissa's in turn.  We were good to go.  We gathered our sand gear and trundled down to the beach.  We had a plan.  We were going to sculpt The Mad Hatter's Beach Party .  We would have Alice, the Mad Hatter, the White Rabbit and the Dormouse all kicking back at the beach enjoying the rays.  If we had extra time (HAH!) we would add Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum and the Cheshire Cat, although everyone knows they were never at the original tea party, and if we ran into a true Alice in Wonderland aficionado we'd be laughed off the beach.

We were outclassed this year.  Turns out in the couple of years since we last competed, people upped their game.  Gone were the cheesy sand castles, there were sculptures of Easter Island and Chinese dragons and trains coming out of tunnels.  And although our sculpture turned out serviceably, compared to these "Family Category" prize winners we were a little half-assed.  People would walk by and had NO CLUE what we were sculpting.

"Is it a crocodile?"

NO, it's not a freaking crocodile!  Does a crocodile have long ears and carry a pocket watch?

The White Rabbit in Repose

The White Rabbit, Mad Hatter reclining upon beach ball
Alice sunbathing

"Oh, look, they're having a Mexican Fiesta!" said one genius.  I swear to God.  Not siesta, but fiesta.  Not to mention that the Mad Hatter's hat looks nothing like a freaking sombrero.     

Ummmmm, helloooooo?  A sombrero has a wide brim?

Okay, I'll be the first to admit that Alice and the Dormouse were a little low profile, and the Dormouse did kind of look a little more like a cat... but there was one family who knew that it was the Dormouse and seemed horrified when we said that other passers-by thought it was a cat.  "Of course it's the Dormouse - a cat wasn't at the Tea Party.  This sculpture is brilliant!"  (That's the point when we praised all deities that we hadn't had the time to add the other Alice characters to the beach party.  It would have been terrible to disappoint our fans.)  After two soul-debilitating collapses on the base of the sculpture, we managed to get the White Rabbit and Mad Hatter back to a semblance of character completion and felt that we had at least finished the task at hand.

Dormouse and Alice

All in all, it was a grand day at the beach.  5 glorious hours in the beautifully balmy, sunny outdoors.  We were exhausted, but felt like we had truly accomplished, if not sand magnificence, then at the very least sand adequacy.  It wasn't until we got back home and got rid of all the sand and grit that we realized something.  We realized the true power of sunblock.  Turns out, David had forgotten to rub in the sunblock on a couple of spots on my back.  Just around the shoulder blades.  I was wondering why I was feeling a little achy and nauseated...  we soon discovered that where there hadn't been sunblock, I (Heather the fish-belly white),  had spent 5 hours in direct sunlight.  You can see the blistering beginning in the reddest patch.  I'm sending a letter to the sunblock company to commend them on saving the rest of my body from the same fate.

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