Cocoa Butter

Cocoa butter: (n) a fatty substance obtained from cocoa beans used for a variety of cosmetic purposes

Long before SPF meant anything in the world around me, I was a very white, fair-skinned, blond man who wanted to get a tan.

There were those who warned of the danger of too much exposure from the sun, but it was like they were speaking their concern in a private closet adjacent to a loud dining hall.

Nobody was listening because everyone wanted to go to the beach and get brown.

There was a consensus that in order to get brown, first you had to get red. And getting red meant you had to spend some time with Papa Sun unmercifully beating down upon your pale skin.

Now, I traveled in a music group with two girls. One of these ladies was very health conscious. She rubbed her body with cocoa butter before going out into the blaze.

The other girl used a concoction of baby oil with four or five drops of iodine added, shaken up and spread all over the skin. The concept was that the baby oil would fry you up like a good fritter, while simultaneously the iodine would paint your epidermis.

I chose her potion.

I got the worst sunburn I ever had in my entire life. It was so painful I couldn’t wear pants. I went to a drug store and they gave me some spray–“Solarcaine”–but my skin was so hot and inflamed that the spray turned into little balls of cotton.

I was miserable for two-and-a-half days. But on the third day, I began to turn a little bit brown. So for the entire summer I used baby oil and iodine–as the other female comrade favored cocoa butter.

I got browner and browner. She stayed as white as the Ku Klux Klan.

In the middle of August, I noticed that my iodine–which I thought had melded into my skin–began to flake off–at first, little tiny portions, but then, bigger chunks. Soon I was a combination of white, red sunburn and iodine tan.

The girl who used the cocoa butter called me “Leopard Boy” because I had spots.

I now realize the wisdom of SPF. But for that summer, I was temporarily brown and looked damn good.

I couldn’t have done it with cocoa butter. I needed what my other traveling friend referred to as “Baby-I.”

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Cellulite

Cellulite: (n) persistent subcutaneous fat causing dimpling of the skin

If it’s got your thoughts, it’s got your soul.

I just find this to be true.

What corrals my attention, stimulates my brain and makes me contemplate pretty much sets the agenda for my entire human experience.

With that in mind, I am very careful not to focus on anything that has to do with the flesh and pretend that it has any worthy emotional or spiritual implications.

Women have cellulite. Men have cellulite. You can feel free to attempt some simple exercise or treatment to get rid of it.

But if you find yourself going on a trip to the beach wearing sweat pants, talking to everyone on the journey about your cellulite, frightened to death to expose your legs, then you’re in the middle of what I would refer to as a “self damnation.” Simply defined, this is a curse each one of us places on ourselves to forbid us from heavenly conclusions because of our hellish fear or lack.

At no time whatsoever during a romantic encounter does it matter one little bit if a man or woman has cellulite. It only matters if you’re watching them from a distance, determining whether they would be worthy of such intimacy.

But you must understand that anyone who has worked hard enough to not have cellulite may just be as demanding of the partner they select.

 

 

 

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Beach

Beach: (n) a pebbly or sandy shore by the oceanDictionary B

Yet another illusion shattered for this traveling, hopeful vagabond.

As a boy, I dreamed of going to the ocean.

As a young man, I nearly lusted for the possibility of staring at the raging tide.

So as soon as I had enough gumption to start the engine of my beat-up car and point it eastward, I headed off to discover the wonders of the sea.

I arrived.

I got out of my car, adorned in what I considered my best beach wear, which really was a cut-off something-or-other, stepped onto the sand, and immediately noticed that I sank down, just a little bit.

I had seen movies where people walked on the beach. Some of them even ran. But for some reason, my stocky frame made the beach feel a little more like quicksand. So every step was twice as hard as walking on concrete, and therefore, in no time at all became discouraging.

Trying to overcome my disappointment, I attempted to jog so as to dispel the sense that the whole experience was a failure.

  • My knees started hurting.
  • My ankles soon joined
  • My legs were burning and aching.

And within about 25 yards, I fell to the ground, vanquished.

Then, to mock me, the tide was coming in and splashed in my face.

Still lying on the ground, I turned my head to the water. As the next wave gradually made its way in my direction, I thought I heard the froth giggle and say:

“Come back again, fat boy, when you aren’t so plump.”

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Ambience

dictionary with letter A

Ambience: (n) the character and atmosphere of a place

I guess some vibes are normal.

For instance, at a funeral home, there is usually organ music, the sickening smell of flowers and people whispering tearful regrets.

At a rock concert, there’s screaming, with people pumping their fists, patting each other on the back and yelling lyrics at a stage which is too far away to hear.

In Washington, D.C., ladies and gentlemen dress up in their parents’ clothes and follow the rules of a Parliament they fought an eight-year war to escape.

And in church … well, sometimes it’s a somber climate with worshipful silence, and in other places, it’s tambourines, drums and modern interpretations of songs written by shepherd boys on a lute.

How important is ambience?

If I walk into a restaurant and the waiters are wearing tuxedos, the food is not necessarily going to be better–just expensive.

I think the aura or overall feeling that best exemplifies our country, though, is a beach on a Saturday afternoon at about 2:30. It is the oddest collage of beauty, beast, coolers, umbrellas, tanning lotion, tossed balls, screaming children, strutting studs and prancing babes.

It is America:  we boldly worship the sun while knowing that it’s slowly killing us with skin cancer, convinced that we have every right to occupy the available space on the sand, which is the width and length of our blanket and also, completely and arrogantly confident that we are just as good as the next bathing suit nearby.

Ambience is a tricky thing.

It’s used to telegraph propriety in a world that no longer knows what a telegraph is.

It’s a bit old-fashioned, it’s a bit presumptuous, and it certainly is often misleading.

Yet each one of us does generate an individual glow around us, which is either inviting or repelling.

And determining what that beam of self turns out to be … will decide our happiness.