(Photo: This is how I spent Memorial Day — braving the sunshine at the all-inclusive Margaritahill Beach Resort in my backyard.)
There was a time in my life — I think it was June 10, 1982 … about 2:16 p.m. — when I really loved the sunshine. Today, quite frankly, I’m getting a little tired of that out-of-control radioactive fireball.
You would think I’d be a bigger fan of the sun, seeing as how I’m a beach-loving Parrothead who hates cold weather. But as I get older, the sun gets hotter. If I still had a next-door neighbor with a pool like I did back in 1982, I might have a more favorable opinion of that scorching yellow dwarf star — oops, make that the politically correct yellow little star. I’d hate for the sun to get offended. It already seems ornery enough.
To understand the sun, you need to start with the basics, such as why the darn thing is so hot. The temperature at the core of the sun is around 27 million degrees Fahrenheit, or roughly the same as Orlando but with less humidity and fewer annoying Disney tourists. Then again, if you head out to the outer parts of the sun you’ll find it a brisk 4 million degrees or so, or roughly the same temperature of Tallahassee, with less humidity and fewer annoying FSU Seminoles fans.
Perhaps it likes to keep things warm because it’s fairly old. It’s been around for 4.5 billion years, but that’s just getting into its middle age, star-wise, and leaves it far short of qualifying for the Milky Way’s Medicare program. Of course, that hasn’t stopped Jimmie Walker and Joe Namath from calling it to sell Medicare Advantage plans. Assuming the sun stays healthy and quits smoking, it should have about 7 billion years remaining before it turns from a yellow dwarf to a white dwarf — at which point it gets its own reality show on TLC.
Word on the street is that the sun is 93 million miles from Earth. Now, I’d take that with a grain of salt because that number comes from scientists, the same people who’ve brought us such questionable concepts as climate change, COVID vaccines and gravity. I have a theory that the sun is 92,999,997 miles from Earth because 93,000,000 seems like way too round and convenient a number. I’ve had my hand popped by a 25-foot tape measure, and that hurts. So, I have a hard time believing any scientist was brave enough to hold a 93 million-foot tape measure. It’s also possible that the sun has moved 3 miles closer to Earth, and that explains why it feels so much hotter these days.
The sun’s composition is roughly 75 percent hydrogen and 25 percent helium, although there is a global helium shortage so that helium number percentage may have dropped. I question that “science” as well because with that much helium, the sun should float away instead of sinking and setting every evening. And with no string or anchor, it would have floated away by now. I am confident that the sun is some sort of big ball of gas, kind of like my Uncle Joe, who’s full of something but probably not helium.
Now that you have the proper scientific background about the sun, we can proceed with my point. Wait, what was my point? Oh yeah, I’m tired of the sun. Yes, I like that whole being crucial to life on Earth thing, but sunburns and sweating just ain’t fun anymore. And the sun can give you cancer. Then again, what doesn’t? I knew a lot of girls when I was a teenager actually sunbathed with Crisco to accelerate their tanning … and skin cancer. They thought it made them more attractive, but it just left me with a hankering for fried chicken … which is what a lot of those girls’ skin looks like now.
If you catch me outside in the sun now, I’m likely wearing a sunblocking long-sleeve swim shirt like a child on the beach and a wide-brimmed sunblocking hat like an old man in a retirement community. In other words, I look like a kindergartner who just retired because he got rich off of crypto and now has margaritas in his Paw Patrol cup.
But I’m OK with that. I’m hard enough to look at without my skin getting cooked by the sun. Never again will I allow that sucker to scorch me. I’m perfectly happy being pale. In fact, I’m so white now, that, kinda like the sun, you’re not supposed to look at me without protective eye wear. That’s what my wife says anyway.
Now, if you’ll excuse, this pale fellow has things to do — inside, out of the sun, in the air-conditioning, under a ceiling fan. Hmm, I wonder if KFC delivers. I just got a weird hankering for some fried chicken.