On the Fourth of July the wife and I attended a Billings Mustangs baseball game in the big city. It was a hot, sunny day--but a great day for a baseball game. The person sitting to the left of me looked over at my legs and proclaimed loudly: "Boy! Those are some of the whitest legs I have ever seen--you're going to get burned!" Now, outside of the fact that everyone within twenty rows heard the statement and turned to get a good look at my legs, the guy didn't need to remind me that I was not tan. I guess that is the price one pays for having a job that keeps him/her inside all day. The truth of the matter is I have never really had a good tan in my life.
Being tan deficient might explain one of my childhood nicknames. Through the first five to six years of my life I acquired the nickname "Casper"--as in "Casper the Friendly Ghost". Part of it was because I was a do-gooder just like Casper, and the other part of it was because I did not tan. I was always a wonderful shade of blinding white . . . or a blazing bright red throughout the summer. Those were the two extremes I lived with then and now. I was either a sickly white shade or a painfully red shade.
I appreciate the healthy glow of a tan--in fact there are times that I wish I had that healthy glow. At my age I have given up on having that healthy glow because I burn too easily and burns hurt, and despite its healthy veneer a tan is not good for the body. Also, they won't allow us to having tanning lights in our offices. So basically I admire others' tans and relish the fact that in twenty years all those tans will turn those individuals into a wrinkly prune.
This is not to say that I have not ever had some sort of a tan in my life. I have had several unique tans over the span of my lifetime . . . and, if I kept my clothes on they often looked good. For example, I have had quite a few farmer tans in my lifetime. I think that the farmer's tan is standard issue to men over the age of fifty!
Classic Farmer's Tan
The classic farmer's tan has been a part of my annual summer presence for about the past five to ten years--or about the time the local law enforcement officers issued me a "obscene exposure" citation for having my shirt off while mowing the grass. This is the typical tan that I sport during the summer, and due to the non-Adonis physique I am blessed with (no six-packs here as six-packs are meant for drinking and not describing one's mid-section), this is the tan that best fits me at this point in my life. I have also had some variations of the classic farmer's tan over the years. Maybe these pictures will help you visualize these variations.
Variation 1 of the Classic Farmer's Tan
Variation 2 of the Classic Farmer's Tan
Variation 3 of the Classic Farmer's Tan
At various times in my life I have had these classic tan lines adorning my body. Yeah, I was always the goofy one in the group! At one point in my life any tan was better than no tan--farmer or not! Another variation of the farmer's tan I have sported over the years has been the "trucker's tan". Now for the most part a trucker's tan is the same as a farmer's tan except it only involves the left arm--the part that lots of drivers like to hang on the window while driving. The following is the "trucker's tan":
The cruelest variation of the any type of tanning is what I call the "hat tan". Having been in a hair deficit for many years now I wear a hat--the hat effectively covers all my bald spot. This is wonderful as I have had sunburns on top of my head before and they are just miserable. The problem is that those parts of my head that are not covered by the hat as exposed to the sun and thus creates a whole new dimension of tan lines. Thankfully I have been good at getting full head exposure during the summer to insure that I do not create any of those ungodly hat tan lines. Heaven forbid if I showed up in the pulpit or at the college sporting tan lines like this guy:
Hat Tan Lines
Tanning is not easy. It takes time and lots of patience--patience is not something I have when it comes to tanning. I cannot lay still and allow the sun to do its work to create that healthy glow. No, I have to be doing something while allowing the sun to tan my body. This creates a whole other sort of problem--the sports tan lines. I never realized how easy it was to identify athletes by their tan lines. Each sport seems to have its own specialized tan according to the equipment and uniforms they have to wear.
But if I was going to get into tanning--like on a professional basis--I would probably shoot for the area of tanning tattoos. I think that this definitely happened once at the beach when I fell asleep on my beach towel. I made the mistake of laying my hand on my stomach and the next thing I knew . . . well, I had the coolest looking hand print on my body! It was a tattoo of my hand--bright white surrounded by bright red. You could see me coming from a mile away!
Accidental Tan Tattoo
As cool as that might look to someone as goofy as me, it is not the sort of tan tattooing I would want if I were to get tanning professionally. Since I do not like needles--ink tattooing is not in my plans in the foreseeable future. Tan tattoos do not involve needles, but instead intricate patterns placed on the body to block the sun in order to create a pattern or picture. The exposed parts get tanned while leaving behind a cool picture. Plus it would allow me to kill two birds with one good sunburn and no needles!
Well, the bottom line is that the summer is nearly half gone--the burn season , I mean tanning season, is nearly half gone. I see more and more individuals sporting some sort of tan. For the most part I am not envious of anyone's tan. I just wish people wouldn't whip out their sunglasses whenever I decide to wear shorts, yelling for their children to run because there is ghost on the loose! People can quit asking me what SPF my sun tan lotion is because it works so well--I don't use sun tan lotion! I don't even know what SPF stands for! I am content with my farmer's tan and its many unique variations. I proudly wear whatever tan I have--it is good to bond with my agricultural buddies! You can just call me "Casper"--the friendly ghost.