Posted tagged ‘sun tan lotion’

How Am I Still Alive?

June 26, 2019

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                             June 26, 2019


There are numerous reasons as to why I should no longer be alive. They mostly fall into two categories: 1) Stupid Acts and 2) The Times We Lived In. I suppose I could do a third category, kind of a hybrid…”The Times We Lived In and The Things We Didn’t Realize Were Stupid!”

You be the judge. For instance, when we were growing up, and before kids were strapped into seatbelts, we roamed the back section of our family car freely. There were always the siblings’ squawks about my brother, Charlie, touching my sister, Rena, or me. Being the oldest, Charlie felt he had the right to antagonize us. 

To make more room in the back seat I’d sometimes lay down on that console under the back window, you know the area where the box of Kleenex would be set. It was nice and warm back there and on my family’s perilous road trips from Winchester to Paintsville, Kentucky, I’d take rear window naps. If, during one of the numerous curves in the road, my dad had collided with another vehicle I would have been a dead goose…a “flying through the front window” dead goose. 

Imagine if a law enforcement officer saw a kid laying in the back window nowadays as the Buick went down the road!

Yes, we gambled encounters with Death and came out without a road scratch.

And then there was the fog machine in Williamstown, West Virginia, that rumbled through town each evening in the summertime. Williamstown, being situated on the banks of the Ohio River, had its healthy share of mosquitoes that sought to take over the town. The fog machine pumped out some kind of pesticide fog to do battle with them. And what did we do as kids? We heard the fog machine coming and we’d run along behind it, inhaling the smoke and staying within the fog as long as we could. 

That couldn’t have been good for us!

We didn’t know that we shouldn’t have been doing those things, staying warm in the back window and breathing in toxins. We were just doing normal!

And then there was my personal encounters with stupidity! Like when I was experimenting with my brother’s chemistry set, mixed a couple of chemicals together, and decided to drink the mixture! I don’t know what it was I drank. I remember that it tasted bitter, like my mom’s perfume…not that I tasted her perfume, but I remember that being the thought that came into my mind. 

I was into experimenting. Like when I did an experiment with a facial tissue. I wanted to see how quickly it would burn, so I lit it with a match. 

Experiment Conclusion: A facial tissue will burn very quickly.

Teachable Moment: When setting a facial tissue on fire make sure you are a safe distance away from the kitchen curtains!

I was lucky enough to not set the whole house on fire, but unlucky enough to leave scorch marks on the curtains in the kitchen…right next to the table where we ate dinner. My parents were suspicious of the pile of books that suddenly had been stacked in front of the curtains that night. Busted!

And then there was the time I tried to light firecrackers in a pill bottle and put the cap on before it went off. The firecrackers I used were the next level up in potential danger, but I thought it would be cool to see want would happen. 

Well, what happened is that I was not quick enough to get the cap back on and it exploded in my hand. I can still remember the stinging sensation in my fingers and the ringing in my ears. Stupidity had made a special visit to me and exploded before leaving.

And I survived! 

When you think about it, it’s a miracle that any of us survived! We all did stupid things, stuffed ourselves (and still do) with processed food, and acted the fool! We thought “organic” had something to do with playing the church organ, Caster Oil was the cure for everything, and the more Coppertone you lathered on your skin to bake in the midst of a hot sunny summer afternoon the better. The browner we were the more awesome we thought we were!

How are we still alive? There’s only one reason, and that is so that we can tell the younger generations to not do the stupid things that we did!


Bald Spot

June 17, 2014

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                    JUNE 17, 2014




My physician applied the freezing treatments. My head experienced brain freeze that only usually when I took a humongous bite of ice cream.

I had lived my life in easy denial…hatless…a sun-basker! I would lay by the pool, lather up with sun tan lotion, get brown. Summers were meant for baking!

My older brother was starting to lose his hair on top and I felt sorry for him. He was getting a crown on top that seemed to get bigger every time I saw him. Like one of our grandfather’s cultivated fields for a corn crop, his scalp was looking more plowed and less populated.

When I looked in the mirror I saw a forest staring at me just above my forehead. I had been blessed with the hair my brother was now missing, like a double blessing compared to his hair poverty.

My brother was following the barren pathway that my dad had traveled before him. What he was lacking up top he made up for with humility, grace, and wisdom.

And then one day my wife started talking about the fact that I was getting a little bald spot on top! I didn’t believe her because I couldn’t see it. Each morning after showering I’d have to comb my mop-on-top like always. I was about to learn that bald spots don’t descend on you, they slowly creep in.

Life went on! People started talking about something called sun screen and “covering up.” I didn’t take notice. Spending time in the sun was as normal for me as brushing my teeth. It was part of my lifestyle.

I had coached a basketball game and a mom of one of the players had taken some pictures during the game. One of the pictures was taken from the bleachers behind out team bench.

The “crown” could not be ignored! It stood out like young newly-weds on a bus with senior citizens. I was speechless. I started wearing hats outside, more to hide my spot than to protect my head.

When I went for my annual physical I told my doctor that I had a couple of places on my head that seemed to be more sensitive to touch. He examined my noggin, warned me to protect myself whenever I’m in the sun for more than a few minutes, and then he did the freezing on several pre-cancerous spots.

Since then my dad has had three different rounds of radiation treatments for cancerous spots and growths on his head and one of his ears.

I’m more wise now. Less wisdom is a recipe for destruction. Meanwhile my bald spot is growing into becoming a bald plot. It’s a sign of maturity, of advancing on down the road of life. I still can’t see it when I look in the mirror, but my family reminds me that it’s there! The good news is that most of my friends carry the same age signature. It’s like a symbol for our brotherhood!