I needed to mow the yard over the weekend, but it was hot out. I thought the way to beat the heat would be to wear shorts instead of my usual jeans. I wasn’t worried about anyone seeing me, because our house is far away from any neighbors, and it’s at the end of a mile of mud that sometimes passes for a driveway. I cared more about being cool than fashion.
It turns out I should have cared about burning flesh. My legs haven’t been exposed to the sun for probably 10 years. Maybe 20. I just don’t wear shorts, except to work out, and that’s usually in the gym.
To make matters worse, I neglected to put any sunscreen on those lily-white legs of mine. I just didn’t think about it. My wife ran out and doused my neck and arms with sunscreen at one point, but I didn’t even think about my legs. Maybe it’s because I’m so unused to having them exposed, or maybe it was because I figured my gut provided enough shade that it wouldn’t be a problem. Whatever the reason, I was wrong.
When I came in from mowing several hours after I started, I knew immediately I’d messed up. I’ve had bad sunburns in the past, but they usually don’t start hurting until the next morning. But this one let me know right away.
Worse yet, we had a barbecue to go to that night, so I had to put on some jeans. The temperature dropped while we were at dinner, but I was plenty warm, thanks to the heat generated by the friction on that sunburn all evening.
Let my mistake be a lesson to you. Don’t get a sunburn of your own while you’re out at the lake or fishing the North Platte this summer. Be sure to put on a heaping helping of sunscreen, and the higher the SPF value, the better. Unless you enjoy pain. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.