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  • Writer's pictureAndy Ross


When Summer was on the horizon there was one thing I had in mind. I wanted to have a good one, one that felt like the fun, busy, carefree ones of my youth. I suppose that’s a feeling we’re always trying to chase, but having spent the better part of the last two years living as something of a shut-in (hypochondriacs represent!), I wanted to get out and enjoy life a little.

It helped that June was kicking off with the first non-work-related weekend trip I’ve had in years. A fun and most pleasant weekend in Asheville to attend a friend’s wedding. Sure, I could have done it as just a day trip, but I deserved a weekend getaway. That was the only thing I had planned for my Summer of George. What other fun things would happen? I wasn’t sure. I knew I wanted to get some pool time in at some point, I know enough people with pools where that seemed like a good plausibility.

Indeed it was. Just about a month after my weekend away, I was asked to do a one-day house sit for a friend who has a pool. That day was glorious. I spent almost three hours floating around in the pool, listening to music, and generally living my best Summer life. You recall how I mentioned my goal for the Summer was to have one that felt reminiscent of my youth? The days when I was part of the last generation to be truly feral?

I got my wish as waking up the next day after my truly wonderful pool day I found I had a massive sunburn over most of my upper back. Now, I’m no fool, I harbor the advice of sunscreen and had some which I applied twice during that day of fulfilling leisure. What was funny was that you could see where this was on one part of my back that, regardless of how hard I tried, I wasn’t able to cover with sunscreen.

Near my upper right shoulder, there was a perfectly un-burned outline of my hand, where I had managed to slap the SPF 30. It looked like something out of a cartoon. As I stood there glaring at this giant red spot on my back in the mirror, I was trying to remember what all you do for a sunburn. Drawing a blank on how to take care of a sunburn, it dawned on me that I don’t think I’ve had a sunburn in over 20 years.

As in, I don’t think I’ve had one since I was a kid, as in since the ‘90s. My dream of having a Summer much like the ones of those happy days of yore had come true in ways I didn’t think of. I had to google what to do for a sunburn and none of the immediate remedies were on hand. A quick trip to the corner drug store and I soon found myself with a good-sized bottle of aloe vera gel.

The second problem presented itself in how the heck I was going to apply this to a spot on my back I couldn’t get sunscreen on. I thought about using a towel, but that seemed like a bad idea as it would just absorb most of the gel. I decided to try the wall of my shower. I placed a good splash of gel all over part of the wall where I thought my back would manage the best, then I rubbed my back all over the wall.

It worked OK, but most of the gel stayed on the shower wall instead of going on my back. Determined, I wiped the gel off the wall with a towel while trying to think of another solution. I went to the kitchen to get a spatula, the kind you’d use to mix a cake batter with. I put the gel all on one side of the spatula and began to rub it all over my back. This worked, and with alternating hands I was able to cover all of the areas with Aloe Vera, bringing the much-needed relief I was seeking.

I knew I wanted a Summer that made me feel like I was a kid again, but I didn’t think that would include burning my entire upper back. The other thing I do miss is that Summer felt like it lasted a long time, now here we are with school starting back up and I wonder where the heck the summer went? It seems it went by in a flash. Time does get faster as one gets older. Hopefully, if you’ve also been burned by the sun you won’t need to resort to a spatula for relief. See you next week.


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