Columnist

Mike Buzzelli is a stand-up comedian and published author. His book, "Below Average Genius" is a collection of essays culled from his weekly humor column here in the Observer-Reporter.

It’s been a good summer so far. I’ve been to the pool, the beach and a water park. I’ve gotten wet and wild while enjoying the sun.

I’m tan. I’m UPS brown – the color of the uniform, not the truck. I look like a Mocha Frappuccino with a bit of whipped cream on top. All the chocolate shavings are gone and it’s just a thinning layer of Reddi-Wip.

I like looking at my tan in the mirror, though, especially when I wear a white T-shirt. The contrast is stunning. I’m looking pretty good, if I do say so myself.

“Self, you look pretty good.”

There are varying opinions about darkening oneself in the sun. I, personally, think a tan looks healthy.

It’s funny how reading a book with most of your clothes off can make you look healthy. Remember: indoor reading only improves your mind – not your skin. Read outdoors – semi-nude but never naked. There are parts of your body you don’t want to burn.

I’m tanner this year than I was last year.

Ironically, I know a young man named Tanner who is very white. He’s Bible paper white. He looks like a milk bottle coming at you.

Side note: Does milk even come in bottles anymore? I miss when beverages came in clear, glass bottles. Even Snapple, the very last convenience store holdout, has switched to plastic, and it makes me crazy. If they get rid of the factoids in the cap, too, are they even still Snapple?

But I digress, like I do. Tanner, who is not tanner than anyone, attributes his eggshell complexion to sunscreen.

“It puts the lotion on its skin or it gets the hose again.”

As long as I live I don’t think I’ll ever understand how things work – like color television, airplanes and sunscreen.

I hate to admit it, but I am stymied by all the SPFs (Sun Protection Factor). I think it’s weird that you can apply sunscreen to your body and it will protect you from the sun. Frankly, it’s easier to understand how a 560-ton airplane can fly through the air than it is to grasp how a coconut-scented lotion can stave off ultraviolet rays.

Don’t even get me started on the numbers. Every year, there’s a higher number. I remember when SPF 7 was the good stuff. Now, there’s SPF 50.

I suspect someday in the distant future we will have sunscreen with SPF 3,000 for people who want to take a stroll on Mercury.

By the way, it’s 800 degrees on the sunny side of Mercury – even when it’s in retrograde. Just think, if you were walking around on Mercury the pounds would melt right off – right off your skeletal frame. It would be like Frosty the Snowman in the Bahamas – all that was left was a top hat, a withered carrot and a warm puddle.

The summer is going by rather quickly. Slather up, get out there and enjoy the sun.

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