Introduction

The "Hotel Melanoma" moniker is a metaphor for living with my particular brand of cancer. Except for those lucky few of us deemed "cured", all we cancer survivors are guests of one of the many, many branded hotels in the "Hotel Carcinoma" chain. We can check out any time we like, but we can never leave. Meanwhile, let's be livin' it up; and please support cancer education, prevention, and treatment research.



Sunday, March 2, 2014

Sunbrowned



This was me at seventeen, at the end of a summer of lifeguarding and as brown as a kid of Celtic descent could get. Cooking melanoma in a black Speedo. And hoping and praying to draw a very high draft lottery number after I turned eighteen, because at the time a tour of duty in Vietnam slogging through rice paddies with an M-16 in my hands seemed like so much more of a clear and present danger than using baby oil as a ‘sunscreen’ and catching ‘skin cancer’ when I was much older.

But a wonderful summer it was. And a seventeen- year-old male brain is not exactly good at making rational assessments of the potential long term consequences of high-risk behavior, which is why we used to draft kids to fight our wars. So, dear indoor tanning industry, how can you possibly make a principled argument in opposition to legislation banning minors from using tanning beds? I guess you’d sell cigarettes to a seventeen-year-old too?

To the tune of Gordon Lightfoot’s “Sundown”…



I can see my fryin’ back when I’m lackin’ dress
At a pool where the U brought youth mole distress.
Sunbrowned, you better take care
Since I found mel’s been creepin' ‘round my back bare.
Sunbrowned, you better take care
Since I found mel’s been creepin' ‘round my back bare.

C's been cookin' since sixteen in the baby ‘screen
And C don't always stay but C’s really mean.
Sometimes I think it's a shame
When I get feelin' better when I'm feelin' no pain.
Sometimes I think it's a shame
When I get feelin' better when I'm feelin' no pain.

I can picture ev'ry groove that a tan could bake;
Gettin' lost in yer sunnin’ is your first mistake.
Sunbrowned, you better take care
Since I found mel’s been creepin' round my back bare.
Sometimes I think it's just skin
Then I feel like I'm winnin' when I'm losin' again.

I can see her cookin’ fast in mutated genes;
C's a hard evil demon, got me feelin' mean.
Sometimes I think it's a shame
When I get feelin' better when I'm feelin' no pain.
Sunbrowned, you better take care
Since I found mel’s been creepin' round my back bare.

Sunbrowned, you better take care
Since I found mel’s been creepin' round my back bare.
Sometimes I think it's just skin
Then I feel like I'm winnin' when I'm losin' again.

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