I used to bake in the sun

I’m a Floridian through and through. I know some people can claim Florida as their home state, but I was born as far into Florida as one can get– Key West. I’ve always loved being associated with the Sunshine State (even when I lived in Tennessee for 16 years). I recently left the Volunteer State to start another adventure, which you can follow by checking my Camping Stories page. My home base is now back in Florida where the rest of my family lives. If you live in Florida, you are well aware how blazing hot it can get in the summer. You can also get a sunburn if you’re outside for like, half a second! Well, a few of my nieces– OK, that’s being conservative– ALL of my nieces are at an age where they really want a tan. I was like that too, a lifetime ago.

I don’t remember making the extra effort in high school, but in college having a tan was not something I was ever shying away from. In fact, my brother and I used lemon juice in our hair and Banana Boat dark tanning oil for everything else. Many, many afternoons where I’m sweating on a beach towel hoping for dark skin and a date for the weekend!

Confession —> Usually I only got the dark skin. What can I say, I was shy around my coed classmates!

Other memories of that #TanLife in Florida include a dermatologist who was probably on retainer with my family. If not, he should’ve been! One day I saw him walking on the beach in long sleeves and a big-brimmed safari-style hat. Internally, and so00oo00oo mature, I was glad I wasn’t him.

Why so covered up, my man?

Now, though, a couple of decades later, that long sleeve-wearing big-brimmed safer-style hat guy walking on the beach is ME. The crazy thing is that I wish I was blocking the sun a looooong time ago. Every member of my family has experienced the unfortunate result of too much sun– skin cancer. I’ve had it on my leg but between us all, it’s included faces, heads and pretty much everywhere we were trying to tan when we were young.

Now as an uncle who’s so00oo00oo mature, and as much as teenagers don’t want to hear it, I really hope they don’t let themselves bake in the sun for too long. Skin cancer is nothing to take lightly.

The days of me roasting in the hot sun are over. So if you see a guy running around a beach or a campground wearing long sleeves, hands in his pockets, and a gigantic safari hat, say hi and I’ll say hi back!

-Out of the Wilderness

Published by Ben Wilder

Since 2005, I've called Nashville home. I'm the leader of the pack, which includes an 11-year-old beagle and a 9-year-old blue heeler mix. My days include writing, video editing, dog boarding, and other fun activities. Thanks for checking out my blog, I hope you enjoy it!

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