"It is better to look good than to feel good." -- Billy Crystal as Fernando on "Saturday Night Live."
According to the Associated Press, New York is mulling whether to become the first state to ban indoor tanning for all minors. (Currently, the Empire State allows teens ages 14-17 to tan with parental consent.) Both the American Cancer Society and American Academy of Pediatrics support the ban, citing the danger of melanoma and other skin cancers.
Luckily we have that respected charity the indoor tanning industry to warn us that the research condemning tanning is funded by the sunblock industry and other parties with VESTED INTERESTS. ("The pot calling the kettle bronzed: our contribution to the world," boasts one possible tanning industry brochure.)
The lies and misrepresentations of tanning's opponents have gained so much traction only because tanning executives have been preoccupied with the precise wording of their vows of poverty. ("Honey, does a bank account have a 'healthy' glow or a 'sun-kissed' glow?")
Tanning industry spokespeople rightly point out that the issue of minors tanning should not be determined by a state legislature, but by the people closest to the children: their knowledgeable, conscientious parents. ("Why, I'm buying my daughter Destiny her own tanning bed for her birthday, which is in June...er, October...wait, on second thought, Destiny isn't my daughter. She's a character on my favorite soap...")
The tanning industry reminds us that the nation's health-conscious young tanners are out there soaking up ultraviolet rays in order to prevent Vitamin D deficiency -- so they'll have the vigor to read Playboy for the ARTICLES.
The tanning industry is quick to let us know that the proposed ban is a "nanny state" initiative, a totalitarian power grab. Just look at your history books: "First they came for the Jews. Then they came for the Snooki wannabes..."
In order to protect its good name, the tanning industry has been forced to bankroll the pilot for a new educational TV series called CSI: Pasty Faced Teens Unit. ("Coroner's report on multiple victims: victim 1 died of embarrassment...victim 2 died of embarrassment...victim 3 died of trauma from a blunt prom picture...")
I'm squeamish about taking away a major chunk of business from a legitimate industry (the American Academy of Dermatology says one-quarter of young women tan on a weekly basis) via an outright ban, so I've come up with some less drastic ways of achieving the aims of the ban's advocates.
1. If teenage girls are going to fake being athletic and healthy, help them fake looking SMART by requiring them to grow an Albert Einstein moustache.
2. Help young people learn to simplify matters by just BRIBING people to like them.
3. The TV networks and advertising agencies need to make (ugh!) pale skin more socially acceptable and (dare I say it?) cool. It's time for the Pillsbury Doughboy to get lucky!!!
If New York bans tanning for all minors, look for a ripple affect across this formerly free land. Believe me, you'll hear more about this issue. I understand Hollywood is working on an updated version of the Burt Reynolds classic "Deliverance," complete with a "Dueling Oncologists" banjo performance and the unforgettable line "I bet you can squeal like you've seen a picture of your 60-year-old self! Weeeeeee!"
©2011 Danny Tyree
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