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Invasive Species

Boy, Are My Cheeks Red

Invasive Species

The Mighty Firbank (and Myself)
Yuri Hospodar

Boy, Are My Cheeks Red

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As I spiral into a dismal olde age creaky and grumbly enough to finally match my curmudgeonly personality, I've been battling a mad winter's spree of dry skin. All my old skin creams seemed to be having no effect. Worried a bit, I went to the doctor, who checked and biopsied and shrugged at the tests results: "Nothing shows. It's just an unidentified skin irritation. Keep using whatever cream you have."

Having been so well-advised by wise medical counsel, I figured perhaps it being winter, and not getting much sun as I am a cold-hating hermit, I might be short of some vitamins or minerals or glayvin. So I upped my Vitamin A intake, and tried to eat more leafy green veggies. Still with the spots. Added Vitamin D supplements. Still, not much change. Finally I thought a-ha!, let's just go to a tanning salon and zot myself full of sunlight-like radiation. And so I did.

Now, I am a pale Slavic sort. My days in rural central California aside, I have never been the bronzed god sort (or, as they say about elderly sorts my age, sun-weathered). Usually I can be spotted kilometres away on a sunny day by the bright light-blue glow of my illuminated undead-sheened skin gleaming in the sunlight. And as far as nude sunbathing goes, it has been a very rare occurence in my life, limited to a few days in far north Queensland on an isolated beach.

But when the bored, dismissive Margaret Cho lookalike running the Balmain tanning salon into which I trudged yesterday afternoon finally appeared from the depths of the shoppe, took my money, muttered a few instructions about the electronic crypt into which I was about to splay myself, and vanished, I shut the door, stripped down to barenekkidness, and sealed myself into the glowing gizmo, trusting this machine knew what it was doing and the manager had set it properly.

My last time in a tanning booth was when I tried to get a decent base before heading to Cancun, so as not to fry my as-mentioned-pallor into lobsteritude once I hit the white clean Mexican sands. This was 1988ish, and I had to claustrophobe my way through like a 20 minute session. This time around, how neat! I lay down, zzzzipZAP and about 10 minutes later it was done. As the great Eccles would say, "foin; foin foin foin ...". I didn't notice much colour, but my main purpose was to zap these dryish perhaps-sun-deprived spots into oblivion, so big deal.

... and then ... a few hours later ... I noticed gee, my bum sort of ... stings. A quick rearview in the bathroom mirror showed yes, quite a reddening, as if some malign leatherdaddy had gotten a bit overzealous in the application of his big scarybutch leather paddle. Ah well. A minor irritation (and one with which, after a particularly unsavoury party in Washington DC last century, I ... well, let's say I'd become acquainted).

... and then ... this morning ... oh dear; quite red in that spot, with some sunburniness up my sides and lower back. Oddly (and thank god/dess/es/Elvis) somehow my fronterly danglybits are unscathed (unseared?) - as well as chest & torso (perhaps sheltered by my awesomely manly pelt of chest hair), and my face and head are fine. So it's just my tanning-inexperienced bum that is currently in flames of argh, and undergoing steady ministrations of aloe vera goop.

I am more bemused than fussing, though. And if this dose of magic booogabooga pseudosunlight somehow helps along the leprous patches of ultra-ick to fade & disappear, it is a bunshaped cross I shall gladly bear. If a few more zaps are required, then hopefully this will count as "getting a base". And if I've wasted time in a technocrypt pretending I'm soaking in the sun to no avail, then screw Margaret Cho, I'm back to my kindly medical clinic and a different doc to say "doc, what gives?", albeit as a bronzed macho god.

I SHALL BE LIKE APOLLO! But for now, more like ... Spanky.
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