From Your Friendly Neighborhood Nurse

I am a public health nurse, which means I work in the community instead of the hospital. It means I am passionate about things like... toilet seat covers and immunizations. Someone has to be right? It means I sing the ABC's in my head every time I wash my hands {truth} and it means that I have a secret dream of driving around with a trunk full of helmets and strapping them on to all the disobedient hooligans who are on a one way trip to a cracked skull. But today's episode is about a different issue entirely.

Today I have a confession to make:

When I was on the cheer squad in high school, a local tanning salon gave all the girls on Varsity a free membership.

And. I. used. it

It's okay if all of your confidence in me as a health care professional is completely shattered by this confession. I would totally understand. Just so you know, I have since repented of my ways and I have not even thought about going to a tanning salon in years. I informed all my college roommates that going to a tanning bed one time increases your chances of Cancer more than smoking a single cigarette. Because we lived in a frozen tundra, they would sometimes go anyway and call me with a guilt complex on the way home to tell me they had "smoked" ha.

Here's what happened... I was getting ready for church the other day, looking down at my ghostly legs and wondering how to get away with not wearing tights but also not looking like I just emerged from a lifetime in Antarctica. For a split second I wished I still believed in tanning salons. And then I remembered something. My free membership from high school! And I was completely and totally disgusted and sort of had a mental break down on the spot.

First of all, who had the brilliant idea that they should give a bunch of self-absorbed, self-conscious high school girls validation for their body complexes?? Raise your hand if you are somthing-teen and comfortable in your own skin with great self esteem... duh. No one. We were not attractive enough and we knew it, in fact it was such a problem that a local tanning salon stepped up and offered to help us with our undesirable appearances for free so we could better represent our school. Perfect, at least now we know where to send the Shrink bills. And furthermore, what an advertising hoax! "I know, we'll get all the cheerleaders to come tanning here for free. Then everyone will see them looking all tropically aglow in front of the crowds at games and ask them where they can get some of that same magic." I feel so used. I hope not a single soul in my high school ever saw me enter or leave that blasted place. But most of all...umm excuse me?? TANNING BEDS CAUSE CANCER. Did I miss something here? Was the Marlboro Man out back handing out free cigarette packs to the student body officers? Or did the choir kids have access to gamma ray emission sessions every other Wednesday? Didn't think so. Fairly certain we were the only ones freely fed known carcinogens. Who the h-e-double-hockey-sticks was running that circus.

Told you it was a mental breakdown. This all came exploding into my brain at once and I was livid. I felt like dressing up as a massive Melanoma and sitting outside their business establishment sipping a chemo cocktail just to get my point across.

Nothing I can do about it now. The year 2007 is long gone and my tanning days with it. But as  nurse I feel it is my duty to do things like donate blood and blog about health issues every once in a while.

So here it is:
Stay away from tanning beds
Use makeup with an SPF factor
Embrace hats
Buy some Ray-Bans { or some $5 knock-offs, whatever}
Bask in the shade
If you are too vain to give up the sun-kissed glow, {I am, I admit it} buy some of this stuff
And for Pete's pepper, please please please

{homemade recipe here if you're in to that}

Happy Sunshine!


  1. Love this. Can I please come with you to pass out the helmets? :)

  2. I love this. I am the "mom" friend who makes sure everyone gets sprayed down with SPF 70 before spending extended time outside. If it makes you feel better, I never gave into the tanning bed phenom after seeing the cheerleaders' tans. :)

  3. I did the same thing, except I paid for my membership. I PAID for cancer. And now it's even harder to be pale because I know how glorious and bronze I can be. I just have to remind myself: pasty now, youthful later.


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