21 April 2008

Spring Arrives at Last

Yesterday I attended a fife and drum muster, and ended up sitting behind an energetic nine-year-old. He was quite excited about going barefoot outside for the first time this year, about throwing around his Frisbee, about jumping on his father's tender knees. Excited, indeed, about nearly everything but fife and drum music. (It's not that he disliked the music; he just didn't seem to notice it.)

What first agitated this young fellow, however, was that he didn't have sunscreen on. His father was bringing the bottle, and as he waited the boy expressed a little anxiety to his mother. When the bottle finally arrived, he sprayed a veritable fogbank of it around himself.

This struck me as being completely opposite the dynamic I remember growing up. Parents used to have to chase and nag their children to put on any sort of sun protection. Of course, I also remember some pretty bad sunburns. This child was nagging his parents about sunscreen, telling them earnestly how it's good for your skin. (And skin is apparently more vital than knees.) All the public education about sun protection may have produced a sea change in how kids today think about sunscreen.

The other detail of this lad that I've filed away for some story was his baseball shirt, with the team name on the front and the number and sponsor on the back. The sponsor was a local coffee shop in the modern taste--which is to say, bourgeois-bohemian. So somewhere in Middlesex County is a whole team of nine-year-olds playing ball, their narrow little backs promoting:


Anonymous said...

Perhaps the kid was more up-to-date on skin cancer/sunscreen research than the parents!

After reading several studies on how sunscreen itself is quite probably carcinogenic - and another few poo-pooing the notion that the sun causes skin cancer at all - it makes a fellah uneasy about everything. Apparently skin-cancer rates have gone up since the advent of sun-block.

I always though it very odd that nature would design humans to have a problem with sun-exposure when it doesn't seem to affect other plants and animals negatively.

I hope the MUSTER was fun :)

Gail Gauthier said...

Gee, I've never known anyone else who knew what bourgeois-bohemian means. I've always had to explain the term, so I gave up using it. I think people thought I was making it up.

J. L. Bell said...

I think the writer who's done the most to publicize the term is David Brooks, who wrote a book called Bobos in Paradise.

Every so often Brooks comes back to those ideas (if not the term) in his NY Times column, most recently in an attempt to shiv Barack Obama supporters.

Gail Gauthier said...

Yeah, that's where I heard it--in articles about that book.

Brooke said...

Ya wanna see kids who still have to be pinned down to get their sunscreen? Come on over to see my three kids anytime. Sheesh, you'd think I was spreading hot lava on their backs.

And "Café Decadence"?!? Is that the team the Baudelaire orphans play with?

(Okay, go ahead and groan.)

J. L. Bell said...

Well, I'm glad to know some kids are upholding the tradition of resisting anything slobbery that's supposed to be good for you.