I was talking to Luke the other night on the topic of sunburns.  He and I do not typically sunburn but when we do, it tends to be pretty stunning.

A couple years back, he managed to get sunburnt armpits due to “unfortunate arm pit shirt holes” and a failure to sunscreen said armpits.  I think this is a wholly acceptable oversight because who would ever expect to sunburn in the armpittal region?  I don’t think deodourant has any kind of SPF value, nor should it (though I’m sure this very concept is occurring to Mennen right now and people will probably buy it.  Maybe they’ll also call it ‘anti-oxidizing’ and sucker in those chumps, too).

His most recent adventure involved a day of kayaking and failure to sunscreen the insides of his legs, resulting in significant discomfort in the leggle regions.  This put me in mind of something that happened to me when I was on my first co-op.  I spent the summer between first and second years of college framing houses in Waterloo and surrounding environs.  I was in really great shape because I was riding my bike between 15 and 45 minutes to get to the project sites.

Most of the houses we built used plywood for the exteriors of the walls because the people who were going to live in them were fairly cheap and plywood is pretty inexpensive compared to some of the other options.  In a more upscale neighbourhood the owners-to-be wanted to have a higher insulation value on the house (probably wise) and so we used a foil-backed rigid foam insulation.  This is good stuff for a couple of reasons.  The added inch of insulation makes a pretty noticeable difference to the heat lost through the wall and the foil backing tends to reflect the heat back into the house in winter and reflect some of it away in the summer.  All around a pretty decent product except for what it does to the installers.

To those of you not intimately acquainted with the process of constructing houses, the walls are typically built on the flat and then lifted up into place.  We started building these places in mid-June when the days are extra long and extra sunny.  The day that we put up the main walls, I spent about 6 hours in bright, bright sun walking around on a highly reflective silver surface.  I had a sunburn that began at the tops of my boots and ended somewhere just shy of the trumpet and skittles, if you take my meaning (thanks to Terry Pratchett for that one).  It felt awesome and looked even better.  After about two days of excruciating agony any time something touched my legs (something includes: long pants, sheets at night, any kind of insect, cool breezes, etc. etc.) it calmed down into the darkest tan I have ever had in my life.  There is a picture of me on the beach that summer that looks a great deal like I am wearing 8” high bright white socks and it is probably one of the finest pictures anyone has ever taken of me.

the sound of a time bomb ticking away