Friday, June 16, 2006

Perils of the tanning lifestyle

I went into a tanning salon today, and in the course of explaining the various package plans, altogether more byzantine than a tanning salon should require -- payment is based on a point system, in which each of the different beds (Sundazzler, Sun Capsule, Sunstroke), pressure levels (low, medium, high -- the low consists of a guy shining a flashlight on you), mattresses, tanning position (supine or standing), and session length are assigned a certain number of points -- the salesman emphatically volunteered that the goal of the company is to get people “into the tanning lifestyle.”

What exactly is the tanning lifestyle? Does one living the "tanning lifestyle" sleep in a tanning bed? Does he arise and have breakfast in a tanning kitchen, then go to his tanning office at the tanning bed company headquarters, where he makes phone calls, checks his email, and creates PowerPoint presentations on his computer -- all while acquiring that Riviera glow? At lunchtime, does he eat his tongue sandwich and drink his Diet Coke in a solarium, then attend an afternoon meeting in a tanning conference room in which arguments break out about what setting to use:

· Slightly burnish
. Light tan
· Tan
· Burn
· 911
· Third-Degree Burn
· 212-798-1101 [the number of Dr. Neil Waxman, reconstructive surgeon who specializes in full-body skin grafts]
· Incinerate
· Vaporize


Instead of Dunkin' Donuts, does the company dole out to its employees free sunscreen every morning?

But. Will this poor man become so revolted by, so thoroughly fed up with the tanning lifestyle that he will recoil from sunlight, natural or artificial, and seek the darkest recesses of the city? Will he renounce tanning in favor of the bank vault, the wine cellar, the murky apartment building basement, the sewer cesspool, the bar with an opaque tinted glass window and space so cavernous only moles could find their way around, if moles hung around in bars and they were gay -- indeed, would he become dark matter itself? Yes, I believe this man would turn himself into anti-matter, would truly go over to the dark side, where he would be trapped in a superstring or brane, or have his atoms totally reorganized to the point where he would become another, nonhuman mass of atoms and wouldn't know his own ACM password!

Whichever course of action he takes, this poor, ultra-bronze man is living a lie. He's all melanin on the outside, but inside he's white as Wite-Out, white as an Icelandic model without lipstick lying naked on the North Pole during a blizzard. He's not an Oreo; he's a ... tan-ish cookie with a vanilla creme center, a Girl Scout cookie they call the "Do-Si-Do."

That's what he is.


Mike said...

Loved the Zarqawi piece!

Smoke said...

Drugs are just bad, you should try to use Herbal Alternatives as a temporary replacement to loose the dependance!