According to lore, my father’s family has survived the following (mostly American) historical nightmares: sailing over on the Mayflower, fighting in the Revolutionary War, escaping the Irish Potato Famine, traversing the Rockies in covered wagons, fighting in the Civil War, traveling west during the Dust Bowl and heroically doing it all in 20* weather, while walking five miles to school in the snow with hot potatoes in their pockets and newspaper in their shoes.  We are also apparently related to Daniel Boone, great American pioneer and noted badass.


Can you see the resemblance? (I apologize for the idiot photo of me. I don’t always take self-portraits, but when I do, I am making that stupid face.)


This is a branch of our family tree. Supposedly, this is Daniel Boone’s brother. This is completely unverified and may have even been proven totally false. I guess in my family, all it takes is a common surname and you can claim credit for someone’s accomplishments. (Also, I am naming my firstborn “Enoch Hagan,” and not just because it sounds like a character from The Hunger Games.)

My dad’s ancestors were tough, no-nonsense, hardy people (although, to be fair, my mom’s side survived the Holocaust, so she wins the battle of The Hardiest Ancestors).  It is safe to say that I am made of sturdy stock.  On the inside.  On the outside, however, I am quite literally translucent – I am, in fact, so white that one time last year, my veins were so vibrant and visible that I thought I was rotting from the inside out.  My vampiric paleness, coupled with the fact I spent several summers in the sun trying to burn off my acne and then eventually changed the actual chemistry of my skin with Accutane at age 20, has me terrified now that I will look like this when I am 35:


As far as I know, no one in my family has claimed this woman as our long-lost cousin. What was her last name again?

I am so scared of this that I have recently conquered my nearly decade-long fear of smearing unnecessary lotions on my face (for fear of enticing whiteheads) and am slathering on 70 SPF sunscreen on my face and “decolletage” (read: neck) every morning.  I’ve even added a ridiculously enormous floppy hat to the rotation, for use when outside with the kids in the yard.  Long, long ago, I saw a woman driving in West LA, wearing sun-proof gloves, in order to ward off sun spots and premature aging on her hands.  At the time, I thought she was a craze.  Today, I am wondering where I can get some of those gloves.

As I was describing my new annoying obsession with skin care and sun protection to a fellow teacher and bragging about how responsible I am being with my high SPF, non-comedogenic sunscreen, she said, “Oh, a dermatologist I know told me it doesn’t matter what SPF it has on the bottle.  Nothing protects more than 30 SPF does.  Anything higher than that, they are just charging you more money for the same product.”

To which I responded, “God bless you for thinking I was spending more than $9.99 on it at CVS.”


So cheap that if it doesn’t work, it’ll be no skin off my nose. Or will it?


6 thoughts on “Dustbag.

  1. That woman isn’t unattractive…maybe not attractive for a 35 year old, but at some age she’s a handsome woman. I used accutane in high school and it was crazy stuff. I think it was blamed for causing people to kill themselves at some point, but man, at least they had nice skin. Oh the risks we must take to be pretty.

    • Oh, I know. She’s a good looking woman…who looks about forty years older than she is. I had a doctor tell me that Accutane effectively ages a person’s skin seven years. I’m terrified that Migrant Mother is my destiny. (Having said that, I would still take it again. Totally worth the risk. At least I’m pretty now.)

  2. I literally wept with joy the day I first saw SPF 90 in the grocery store! People tell me all the time that everything above 30 works only as well as 30… and that may be true for the average person… I’m convinced that for the clinically pale though, SPF 90 is better than SPF 30! I don’t care what anyone says, I can feel the difference (and by that, I mean with SPF 90 I can sit outside for longer than 15 minutes before igniting). I’ve also noticed that the only people telling me about the SPF 30 rule are ALWAYS tan. Just sayin’… Enjoy your SPF 70!!!

    • Thank you! I totally agree – if it’s all the same price (which it obviously is at the fancy make up counter called “Target” where I pick it up), I’m gonna opt for the highest SPF I can because I once got a sunburn in five minutes. Five. Minutes. You are not alone!


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