Staying Out of the Sun

I’m a bigger fan of winter than I am of the summer. I just don’t work well when the sun shines and it is warm outside. I find that it is always easier to put more layers of clothing, than to take them off. I’ve found that there is a certain point where taking more clothes off isn’t really an option. I also have another issue with good weather. 

You see, I get sunburn very easily. I joke that I get sunburn reading The Sun, I’m so fair skinned. So, at the first sign of anything bright, I’m applying sun cream early and often. The reason for my aversion to the sun is because I’m Irish, and in the home land, you don’t get to see the sun that often. I always joke that an Irish summer’s day is one when it doesn’t rain up. 

It doesn’t help matters that I am also incapable of tanning. So I go red, then bright red, and I finally peel like a banana. It is not a pretty sight! 

So, I go overboard with taking precautions to compensate. Hence, I rarely wear a shirt without a collar, I have a number of wide brimmed hats, and I simply don’t like going outside when the weather is good. I learned that lesson at a very early age. 

In the summer of 1998 I spent the summer living in Connecticut, whilst they were having a heatwave. The family that I was living with had an outside swimming pool and they suggested that when in the pool that I would still wear a t-shirt. Of course, being a twelve year old boy, I ignored this advice. 

On my third day in the US, I spent this wonderful afternoon messing about in the pool while topless. I did load up on sun screen but of course it would have washed off from me jumping in and out of the pool. Remember, these were the days before waterproof sun lotion. 

Everything was fine until the evening when I began to do my impression of a post box. I was also emitting so much heat that anyone sitting next to me would begin to sweat. I had caught the sun pretty badly. I eventually cooled down enough to get to sleep. Disaster struck when I woke up the next morning. 

I couldn’t move my shoulders. I had these quite large yellow blisters on the joints of both my shoulder blades. Every shoulder movement brought with it excruciating pain. Do you realise how much you swing your shoulders? Eating was a chore, and I needed help clothing myself. The next four days were extremely difficult. 

I don’t know why no one suggested draining the blisters, maybe they were making sure I was getting the message. It was quite funny, as it looked like I was wearing shoulder pads under my shirt. As it was the late 1980s, shoulder pads were in fashion, and for the only time in my life so was I. 

When the blisters finally burst, I never loved my shoulders more. I had learned my lesson, and I made sure that I was always wearing a shirt when out in the sun. 

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