the red rite of summer

forget solstices, longest days, and wearing white pants after memorial day. summer officially starts for me every year on the first day that i underestimate the power of the sun and get burned. sunburned. it never fails, every year i get selective amnesia and forget that pasty white skin + hours of warm sunshine = bright red epidermal pain.

i don’t know how far back this tradition actually goes, but i vividly remember a weeklong trip to myrtle beach following my college graduation. i got scorched so bad one day that every called me the Lobster King. A few years ago, i spent a warm April day putting together a new basketball hoop…shirtless. 3 hours later i realized my mistake. That night was painful. The following night was one of the worst of my life as the itching was so bad i literally slept about 2 hours total. This is how we should be interrogating Iraqi POWs: itchy sunburns.

This year’s version? Well, our first outdoor softball practice went off without a hitch yesterday. A gorgeous 70-degree day in Pennsylvania, spent shagging flies, fielding grounders, and taking some cuts. The sleeveless T seemed like a good idea in the morning, and would have been had practice gone 2 hours instead of 3. but alas, i once again forgot what happens when your white winter skin goes unprotected for 3 hours in the warmth of the afternoon April sun.

So i sit here at work, shoulders on fire, arms scorching, ears ablaze. The back of my neck feels as if someone coated it in napalm and set fire to it a few hours ago. good times.

You’d think i’d have learned my lesson, but i can guarantee you that next year, right around this time, it will happen again. And with the bright red skin i will once again welcome in summer.

and here’s a bonus tip, from me to you. i don’t care what month you’re in, don’t ever wear white pants.