Monday, July 07, 2014

DIY tip from Lobster Man

(A brief non-political post.) Yesterday, I discovered the drawback of head shaving: The sun turns you into Lobster Man. Seriously, my whole head was a red popsickle.

Fate beckons me out of doors again this morning, stores are not open yet, and there is no sunscreen in the house. What to do? Fire up Google and research DIY solutions. Turns out that the most effective sunblocker is Zinc Oxide and/or Titanium Dioxide mixed with oil. That's white oil paint! A well-made oil paint is just pigment mixed with linseed or safflower oil -- usually safflower in the case of whites.

Since museum conservators now think that Zinc white (long prized by artists for its transparency)can cause long-term problems in paintings, my tube of the stuff now has a useful purpose. And it's easily transportable.
Consider wearing a hat.
Many people of the head shaved persuasion find that the use of the archaic head covering or "hat" precludes the effect of the sun rendering their noggins beet-like.
I suppose your head won't appear as red if you paint it white, no.

Of course, you could just wear a hat. It is traditional in England for elderly bald men in the sun to wear a handkerchief on the head, with the corners knotted.

Myself, being youthful and hairy of head, I have more cause for concern over accidentally sitting on my hair. Still, I do have a large head and a high forehead, and hence last year, finding my tire reluctant to hold air during a long ride, I spent a matter of hours walking home through the blazing sun and found myself with a bright red horseshoe on my head just below the hairline, as if trampled by Satan's sleipnir As the saying goes, only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun. Since then I always take a drink and folded hat when going more than twenty miles on a sunny day.

Took ages to heal, as well.

So I guess a hat would be too simple? As long as you're going to paint your head, you might as well have a little fun by adding green or blue or yellow pigment. But why stop with pigment? Bring on the gusto and bring on the gesso! You can be a Golem, a Gollum, a Joker, a Merman. Blow some Baltimore minds!
Well, as the vendors outside of Ephesus say, "Hat! Hat! Only 8 Euro! Cheaper than headache!"

Painting your head doesn't work unless you have the rubber nose and the floppy shoes to go with it.
People seem to want me to wear a hat. For various logistical reasons, this was not possible. The only hats I own are a black fedora and the Trilby of Doom, both of which are too heavy for this weather. Skin cancer is preferable to wearing a baseball cap.

I did, however, find myself in the Catonsville McDonalds, head painted white. This particular McDonalds is close to the local loony bin, and they have a steady stream of inmates who wander in to share cheeseburgers with their invisible friends. I fit right in.
Since the doctors started freezing, and cutting out parts of my face, I always wear a hat outside. I used to wear a baseball cap(forwards by the way). I used a skin cream containing fluorine which kills sun damaged cells and their offspring. Seeing which parts of me turned red or even to open lesions was an interesting lesson in the bodily geography of sun exposure. Forearms of course, below my old hairline, my eyebrows!!!, my wrists which ski gloves didn't cover, back of the arms above the elbows, and around the collar bone where a sweat soaked T-shirt might sag down to expose tender skin. But to show the failures of baseball caps; the back of my neck was in agony, my ears lesioned up, and my cheekbones weren't much better.

Joseph, as a fair-skinned ginger who has been bald for 30 years and completely shaved for 20, I vote with the pro-hat faction. In hot weather, consider a straw hat, like a Panama.

If you can't do hats, there are clear, spray-able sunscreens that will help.

And remember, when you're driving, you are still essentially outdoors, in a sun-intensifying glass bubble.
I concur about the baseball cap. How about the time-honored bandana?
How about a keffiyeh? ;-)
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