Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Tanning the old-fashioned way

Pity the poor children of California. Their mean old governor has forbade them from using tanning booths until they're 14, and then they have to have a note from their parents. What a drag! Now if they want to court skin cancer and compete with the coolest golden-brown kids in class, they'll have to do it the old-fashioned way, in the back yard with a lawn chair and a bottle of baby oil. That's how I did it, anyway, when I was a California kid and tanning booths were either nonexistent or unknown to me. I remember the long, grueling hours lying in the sun, trying to look like the bronzed babes who ruled my school but winding up looking like a lobster instead. It's so hard to modulate these things, when you have nothing but Mother Nature at your disposal. If state officials really want to protect their young people from skin cancer, can't they do something a little more merciful, like legislate that only palefaces can be homecoming queens, cheerleaders, and members of the most popular cliques? As long as tan = popular, you're going to have kids sneaking into tanning booths with fake IDs and forged notes. Hang in there, kids -- when you're a grown-up, you can do all the unsafe tanning you like. Or you can do what I did: Move to the east coast, where pale, poorly tanning skin is not particularly a social liability.

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