Friday, March 6, 2009

Sit Down, Casper

As the weather turns warm and the tanned flesh of the privilege appear below half-shirts and shirtless Spring-Breakers at Lake Havasu in Arizona, I’m painfully reminded that my pigment is challenged and my complexion is ruddy. My Scottish heritage of pale skin and skinny legs is made for cold and foggy regions, not for areas where speedboats are king and Reggae music permeates the air. No amount of sunscreen, large brimmed hats or parasols can protect me. Eventually I’ll make a mistake or denial will knock on my door and whisper: “Take off your shirt. Nobody will make fun of you. Be like everybody else.”

In late September of ’97, the SF Giants were battling the Dodgers for the National League West pennant. We were enjoying an early Indian Summer and I planned to attend a Saturday day game with my buddies Brad, Joey and Dan.

On the day of the game, the weather was in the 80s and San Franciscans were taking full advantage of the blue skies. Our tickets were on the field level about halfway up on the 3rd base side. Great seats. The game started and Brad took off his shirt. Dan and Joey (who was whiter than me) chose to keep their shirts on. I, on the other hand, convinced myself that I really wasn’t that pale, and if I only allowed myself to get some sun, I would see that I could tan!

I slowly stood up and took off my shirt. 10 rows behind me someone yelled, “Sit down, Casper!” The whole section erupted in laughter. I acknowledged the crowd with a slight wave. Returning to my seat, I put my shirt back on and adjusted my hat, reapplying sunscreen to my nose and lips.

Summer is the cruelest season.

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