• 72°

Your paradise is my battleground

This past weekend, my wife and I traveled to Florida to spend the weekend celebrating her birthday and her brother and sister-in-law’s anniversary.

That may sound relaxing to some of you.

Those of you out there that share my pasty complexion know that the white sandy beaches and emerald waters of the Gulf Coast are a battleground.

I know what you’re thinking.

A battleground? Really?

How could a place with children splashing in the water, senior citizens sprawled out in lounge chairs and teenagers tossing a Frisbee be a battleground?

Well, I’m glad you asked.

For the melanin challenged, like myself, these things can cause you to lose sight of an important truth — the sun is not our friend.

The sun is a 10,000-degree ball of gas and plasma just waiting to turn our fair skin into a fiery red, exquisitely tender, blistering eruption accompanied by chills, fever and nausea.

How’s that for fun in the sun?

For folks like me, who could serve as Casper the Friendly Ghost’s stunt double, enjoying the beauty of the beach takes effort.

Just getting from the condo to the beach is somewhat akin to a endurance contest.

Along with all the normal beach gear — towels, book or magazine, football or Frisbee, chairs, etc. — you also have to haul an oversized umbrella or canopy.

In case you olive-skinned folks haven’t noticed, there’s not a lick of shade down there.

Then there’s the constant application of sunscreen — the higher the SPF the better. (Before you write me, I know that the ingredients in SPF 15 and SPF 80 are the same, and that rating refers to how often to reapply.)

I personally use SPF 80, but that’s only because I didn’t know until recently that SPF 100 existed. I’d prefer SPF 87,000,000,000.

Sunburns hurt, guys.

And then there’s beach fashion.

I bet you’re thinking of lifeguards running around in their board shorts, skin the color of a Mocha.

That’s not my idea of beach attire.

I’m talking long sleeve sun shirt and big, floppy hat.

I think my wife cringes just a bit every time I put it on.

I rock it.

Despite our best efforts, however, the sun can still managed to inflict pain on us.

For a brief moment on Saturday night I thought it had got the best of me.

Jen and I went out for oysters and I noticed a red tint to my usually pasty legs.

“I think I got burned! I think my legs are burned.”

The concern in my voice was obvious because I knew the pain was coming later.

Fortunately, after closer examination, I discovered the restaurant, for some reason, had red light bulbs in a fixture angled toward our table.

I had dodged a bullet. My legs were still as white as the driven snow.

So, basically this weekend’s trip was a success.