My dad only got mad at me a few times while growing up. Once was while he was teaching me to drive a stick shift VW rabbit. I should have taken lessons from my friend, Tucker, that would have saved me a lot of grief. But, my dad insisted on teaching me, and… it didn’t end well. To his credit, I was pretty bad.
The second time my dad got mad at me was when he found out I was going to a tanning salon. It was my senior year of high school. He stopped me outside before I left and said, “You will get skin cancer. See, I have some right her on my ear.” Me get skin cancer? Right. My dad had NO idea how great I looked with a tan! So, I went. And I looked great! I couldn’t afford to go very often, but I think at one point I did make it through a ten-pass punch card. The point is, I should have listened.
A few months ago my sister Jeannie had a basal cell carcinoma removed right above her lip. She had the spot investigated at the heavy persistence of my youngest brother, Darin, who made it through a bout of melanoma several years ago. After the cancer was removed she was sent to a plastic surgeon, and today you can’t even tell that a penny-size amount of tissue was removed. Brother Justin also has had skin cancer. But, I’m the lucky one. At least, until I went into the dermatologist. She mentioned a concern with a small white ring on my cheek. Had it biopsied, and sure enough, basal cell carcinoma. Crap. 13 stitches later, I have joined the skin cancer club my dad started.
Now, in preparation for the coming warm months I am shopping for cover-ups and hats–and I’ve tossed my trusty SPF 15 and replaced it with the monster truck of sunscreen… 70. Here’s hoping it works.
PS This article makes me want to be even more careful with my skin, and the skin of those who carry my awesome genes.