One of the major problems with being blonde and spending your growing up years in the deep south is definitely sunburn. I’ve never had a real tan in my entire life…I go from beet red to pink to alabaster within about a day or two, so I gave up even trying many years ago.
Once, when we were in our late teens, my sister got a really, really bad sunburn. You know the kind–people stop and stare at you in the 7-Eleven (whispers of, “…look at that poor child!” carrying across the isle). You just want to sleep but that isn’t an option, since even 1000 thread-count Egyptian cotton bed sheets feel like sandpaper. It’s just a royally shitty time.
Now, Lynnie’s never exactly been known to suffer in silence, so that particular evening promised to be a tough time for everyone concerned. She was getting pretty worked up about being so uncomfortable and her curses were starting to turn into moans that echoed through our Mama’s apartment. I had heard somewhere that soaking in a tea-solution is supposed to help, so I drew a bath for my patient and dropped in a big old handful of Lipton teabags (we’ve never been a Tetley family).
Once the brew was sufficiently steeped, I led a reluctant Lynnie into the bathroom and finally convinced her to ease herself down into the tepid tub. To say that she wasn’t happy about it would be understating the situation…by this time she’d worked herself into quite a frenzy.
“This is NOT going to help,” she half-whined/half-spat at me, her already reddened face twisting into a scowl that was heading more and more toward the purple end of the spectrum.
“Pleeeeeease just give it a minute to work,” I pleaded, but I could see her anxiety building.
I had already figured out that things probably weren’t going to end well, but I actually got a little scared within another few seconds. My poor blistered sissy was shaking like a crazed chihuahua and crying like a woman who’d just heard that her ex was dating her best friend AND had just won the lottery!
‘NOW what do I do???’ I thought to myself. Was she going into shock or….oh good Lord…did she fry her BRAIN?
My efforts to calm her down weren’t having any impact at all and, before I even knew what I was doing, I just reached out and slapped the poor girl squarely across her (already painful) face! I don’t know what in the hell I was thinking! I just did what came to me (and immediately regretted it), but before I could even apologize, the crying and shaking actually STOPPED. Lynnie’s eyes were huge and focused on me, but her moans quickly dwindled down to whimpering and the tannin in the tea started working its magic. I was stunned. I don’t know how, but I had somehow fixed things. (Of course, it’s possible that she was just afraid I was going to stab her or something worse, but I just figured that I’d take it for what it was worth and claim it as a victory.)
Please reference the video clip below of Moonstruck-Cher slapping a (pre-Hollywood teeth) Nicolas Cage while yelling, “Snap OUT of it!” I swear to you that my tea bath slap was almost exactly like that…I even recreate the moment in my mind complete with me having a huge black 1980’s Italian hairdo. Um…yeah…I can totally see that, can’t you?