Here comes the sun

Wearing sunscreen essential to avoiding tanlines, sunburns, and death

By Alison Howard

Wear sunscreen. I’m serious, do it. This isn’t a metaphor for achieving your dreams. I mean, you should achieve your dreams (if they’re sensible, anyway. If you’ve dreamed about kissing a zombie Angelina Jolie, then I’ve got nothing. We’ll see how the zombie apocalypse goes). I’m not wearing sunscreen right now, and I can already tell I’m going to regret it. If you’re not, you’re going to regret it, too. Unless it’s nighttime. Then you don’t have to.

I’m not suggesting that you don’t know how to wear sunscreen. I mean, it’s pretty easy (a refresher, though: you slather it on your exposed skin. Hawt!) And that’s exactly why I’m reminding you about sunscreen. It’s getting hot outside, and many of us UChicagoans have forgotten all about how to deal with sunny weather— you know, by wearing sunscreen. I know that technically you’re supposed to wear sunscreen in winter too, because science and my mother say that the sun still shines in the winter. But my mother lives in Florida, so I think that has something to do with it. Obviously, science has never been to Chicago.

The fact that my mother lives in Florida is important because I live in Florida, too. Now I only live there for six weeks a year or so, but it used to be more. Like 52 weeks a year. And you know what I saw in all my weeks in Florida? Your future. And it looks like a leatherback sea turtle. Well, that’s what it will look like if you don’t wear sunscreen, that is. Otherwise, it kind of looks like an old person.

Maybe you’re thinking, “Ha! I’m never gonna get old like that!” And maybe you won’t— there is that whole zombie apocalypse thing after all. But the threat of future leathery skin isn’t even the least of your sunscreen-less worries. You know what I’m talking about: awkward tan lines. Let’s perform a thought experiment, and say you sat in Hutch Courtyard for an hour last Wednesday, and were all like, “Yes! I’m soaking up some Vitamin D! This is awesome!” But you know what isn’t awesome? Having a reddish forearm and a pale upper arm because of how you rolled up your cardigan sleeve. Did this happen to me? No way! Because I wear sunscreen. In theory. Basically, if you are sitting outside, and you start to feel your skin getting hot and red, your skin actually is getting hot and red. It’s called sunburn. You should put on some sunscreen.

Besides, sunscreen actually does help you achieve your dreams. And escape from prison. You know Icarus, right? He’s this Greek dude who was stuck in prison with his dad— family business, you know. His dad was all like, “Let’s escape! Here, put on these wax wings I made you! Just don’t get too close to the sun, son.” And then they just flew out of there. Can you guess what happened? Icarus did fly too close to the sun, and then he died! The moral of this story isn’t that you should listen to your parents. It’s that you should wear sunscreen, because sunscreen protects you from the sun. If Icarus had worn sunscreen, then he wouldn’t have died. I may be leaving out some details, but they’re not important. It logically follows that, if you wear sunscreen, you won’t have to listen to your parents. This will allow you to achieve the dreams that they expressly forbid, like becoming a basket-weaver, an English major, or Angelina Jolie’s zombie hook-up.

In conclusion, you have three options here. You can stay inside all the time. This is like being in prison. This is a bad choice. You can go outside and forget sunscreen and grow up to be a leatherback sea turtle. This isn’t as cool as it sounds, because you would be a land-locked sea turtle, and then you’d reverse-drown. Or you can wear sunscreen and grow up to be a nice old person and retire to Florida, where you’ll wear sunscreen every day. OK, so there are more options. You can buy a parasol, move to Washington State, or simply count on the zombie apocalypse happening. But really there’s just one option that’s worthwhile. And do you really want me to say it again?

—Alison Howard is a second-year in the College majoring in English.