a man in a car holds up a bottle of sunscreen while a SPF shirt and an umbrella fall out of the back of the car

Scott's Survival Tips for the Absent-Minded

It’s 7:30am and you overslept again. You scramble and remember that it’s casual Friday and you can wear shorts and a short-sleeved shirt and you do. You find your keys, wallet, and phone and are on your way to work. As you are navigating the light traffic you realize that you forgot to put on sunscreen but you feel okay about it because you will sit in your cubicle all day away from the sun and it’s a short drive to and from work. It will be a virtually ray-free day and you breathe a sigh of relief. Then, you remember.


Today is the company picnic. You volunteered to drive over an hour each way to a park with some of your co-workers. You think to yourself. It won’t be too bad. You can sit under a tree (if there is a tree) and relax. Then, you remember that you are the captain of the company volleyball team and there are possibly six matches on the schedule. There will be no sitting under any trees. You think to yourself that the team really doesn't need you. Then you remember.

Hours in the sun?

Your other star volleyballer tore his achilles tendon and cannot participate. You will be playing volleyball in the direct sunlight for hours without sunscreen. Your branch office is the two-time defending company volleyball champion and you are expected to win again. You are needed badly. You begin to panic and think about another sunburn, another trip to the dermatologist, another biopsy, another surgery, and more drama. Then you remember.

Prepared for any occasion

You had read this article and were prepared for your absent-mindedness. You had remembered to keep broad-spectrum, 50 SPF sunscreen in your car’s console. You also recalled having put UV-protecting lip balm in the glove box. You also remember putting a broad-brimmed hat on the backseat and storing a comfortable, high SPF, long sleeve athletic shirt in the trunk. And, in a worst-case scenario you had prepared yourself by having a parasol or large umbrella in case there were no trees close by.

Peace of mind

Since you did remember to bring your UV blocking sunglasses and since your hat, extra clothing, sunscreen, and lip balm were already in your car, you felt prepared to take on the Scranton branch office and did not fear a terrible sunburn. What a relief! You could play with peace of mind. Heck, even your umbrella could function as a portable tree.

It happened to me

A version of the above story happened to me two days ago. I was at a film shoot that was being shot entirely in a dark, sound stage that was completely shut off from the outside world. It was time for lunch and I had to go out into the bright sun. Like a mole escaping his underground cavern, I came out of the sound stage squinting and looking for the catering truck and then I saw the line.

Sun protection and film production

The line for food was in direct sunlight and fairly long. I ran to my nearby car and found a tiny umbrella and stood in line...sun protected. I got some strange looks, but it gave me some opportunities to talk about sun safety. Plus, from a production perspective, a sun-burned, red face would have ruined the continuity of the scene in which I was being filmed. I won on many accounts.

Your sun protection travels with you

Here is the point. Keep items in your vehicle, backpack, or purse that will protect your skin when you find yourself in unexpected situations. Assume that on any given day you will be outside and in direct sunlight for an extended period. Prepare and you may not pay for your absent-mindedness. Oh, and you just may be the hero of the company volleyball tournament.

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