saturday, the twenty-first of july, two thousand one
in search of that healthy glow
The sidebar is in reruns.

Leave it to me to follow up the most meaningful entry I've ever written with the most meaningless dreck imaginable.

I give you:

Nine TEN! Tips for Those Who Decide to Go to a Tanning Salon
So They Won't Look Pale and Sallow in Their Bridesmaid's Dresses

#1: First, scan your local Yellow Pages for the tanning salon nearest you. Sometimes, a salon's listing will indicate that a coupon is available in the back of the directory. Should you happen to find such a coupon for a local tanning salon -- if, in fact, you choose that salon because of the coupon -- then you are in for a real treat.

Upon presenting the coupon which, according to your sense of sight, promises you one month of unlimited tanning for only $17.95, you will undoubtedly be told that yes, certainly, you can have a month of unlimited tanning for only $17.95, provided you pay the $30.00 membership fee. (This part of the coupon was printed with invisible ink.)

Once you are informed that you are actually eligible to get a month of unlimited tanning for only the $30.00 membership fee, do not spend any time contemplating the purpose of the coupon. It is the tanning salon's equivalent of a black hole.

#2: When filling out the helpful information sheet, do not be too quick to answer "Yes" to the "Are you taking any prescription medication?" question unless you are fully prepared to admit to the really, really tan guy behind the counter that you are a mildly depressed compulsive overeater with ADD. However, if you do find that you have answered "Yes" in haste, all is not lost. Simply write "birth control pill" in the line that follows. This will give the appearance that you have more of a life than you do.

#3: You will have to buy a pair of goggles, as "public" goggles are no longer available. Studies showed that the amount of germs found on those "public" goggles far exceeded the amount of germs found anywhere else in the "public" tanning booth, so salons were forced into the unfortunate position of having to sell goggles to their patrons.

#4: As for the goggles themselves, they consist of a piece of plastic shaped like your eyes with two little bits of high-tech transparent plastic in the middle of each 'eye.' Now, you may wonder exactly how this device protects your eyes from the carcinogenic rays being emitted four inches above your face. It is best that you not question the power of the goggles. The plastic was developed by NASA engineers. That should be good enough for you.

#5: However, you must remove your contact lenses before tanning. Though the goggles are extremely effective at preventing any damage to your naked eye, they will not prevent your contact lens from melting to your cornea.

#6: It may be in your best interest to use sunblock on certain parts of your body that have never, to your knowledge, been exposed to the sun. (At least, not since you were four years old.) If you are looking for recommendations, Banana Boat Quik-Spray SPF 30 is a handy, sprayable sunblock that dries quickly with no greasy residue.

SPECIAL WARNING TO CONTACT LENS WEARERS: You need to weigh your options here. If you remove your lenses before using the sunblock, you risk spraying the sunblock directly into your eyes because you can't see the bottle well enough to be aware that the nozzle is facing the wrong way. If you use the sunblock first, you're still probably going to get it in your eyes, because it will be on your fingers when you remove your lenses. The best course of action is to remove your contacts in the safety of your own home, prior to departing for the tanning salon.

#7: For those of you who have never been tanning before, or have not been tanning in the last five or six years, you should know that gone are the days of spending a soothing half-hour suffused in a warm glow. Tanning beds are now designed to give you a complete tan in three sessions of 45 seconds each, so please do not believe the really, really tan guy who tells you that it would be perfectly fine for you to start with the "full" ten minutes. This guy is likely getting kickbacks from his uncle, the melanoma specialist.

Let's say that, against your better judgment, you agree to the tan guy's suggestion and settle into the bed for the first time. After about four minutes, your skin will be on fire, and you will have to raise the lid and, through the quarter-inch-diameter pieces of see-through plastic in your goggles, search frantically for the stop button on the wall. You will then have to exit the salon quickly, before anyone can mock you with questions of concern about your inability to stay on fire an additional six minutes.

#8: There may or may not be a radio speaker on the wall near your head; if there is, you may or may not have control over the radio station being played. If you do have a speaker but do not have the ability to change the station, it will serve you well to locate the volume knob prior to the beginning of your session. Otherwise, you may be stuck listening to Whitney Houston LOUDLY sing her 38th song in a row about the man who left her. (But she and Bobby Brown are fine, by the way. That marriage couldn't be better, no sirree.)

#9: Finally, here's one that's just for a certain percentage of potential bridesmaids. (You'll know who you are.) Ladies, keep this in mind, especially if your bridesmaid's dress has rather short sleeves:

Breasts that are 100% natural are subject to the laws of gravity.

If you do not understand this piece of advice, then be grateful, and rest assured that you have nothing to worry about in this particular area.

Addendum! #10: Go buy that new Coppertone Dual Action self-tanning lotion that has the two ingredients in seperate containers that activate something when you pump them out together. Apparently, it works extremely well. I know it seems expensive when you're looking at it in the drug store, but it is a steal at twice the price.

Trust me on this.

Really, folks, that's all I've got. The Kansas bar exam is Tuesday, and my best friend's wedding (which I have been getting such a dork-like kick out of saying lately) is Saturday. I'll be back shortly after that, hopefully with pictures of what I know will be an incredibly special day. (Saturday, people, not Tuesday.)

In the meantime, I wanted to let you know that I have been innoculated against the Journal-Quitting virus that's been going around. For better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health... I'll be here. (Notice I left out "Till death do us part." Not quite ready to make that kind of commitment at this point.)

Have a good week, everybody, and find some shade, okay? After all, we don't want anyone getting sunburned...

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