John Boston | Well Spray Paint Me Sienna and Call it a Suntan

John Boston
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I’d like to set the record straight, right jolly up front. I’m not a racist. Having said that, I sometimes have a problem with People of Color, especially when the color is spray painted on in a wanton disregard for aesthetics, decency and current Santa Clarita HOA standards.

Actually, I was a twofold victim of People of Color this week. I was strolling through one of our fine mega box stores, looking for Lug Nuts. Those would be the extra heavy bolts often associated with, but not completely exclusive to, keeping wheels from falling off cars. Not Lug Nuttz, the moody CalArts interpretive dancer/tuba player from Schmedeswurtherwesterdeich, Germany.

I like using words like, “Schmedeswurtherwesterdeich.” It drives Signal Editor Tim Whyte nuts because it doesn’t properly hyphenate on the page. Anywho…

So this lady walks by and I think it’s a safe bet she’s Caucasian. But, people know. We try not to stare, mouth agape. Something went terribly wrong in the tanning booth. She’s wearing a skimpy top, white shorts and her color, and texture, is of a hardened burnt doughnut.

This woman. I know she was going for the Healthy Summer Tan Look. She failed. It’s like she went to the 99-Cent Store and bought Tan In A Bottle. The 2-gallon size. 

And drank it.

She looked like the victim of a fraternity prank, probably initiated by that Canadian Prime Minister Maurice Chevalier or whatever the guy’s name is. Wait.


That’s what it is.

Justin Timberlake.

The holier-than-thou Canuck politician who accidentally dressed up in blackface those 487 times.

Last month.

This woman’s tan that made you wince. For one thing, I’m not in favor of daubing wide expanses of wrinkled skin, white, brown, raspberry red, lemon yellow or orange orange. It was like someone had painted an old Ferrari brown. With an asphalt application mop. Gave me the willies.

Then, I’m on my way home and this OTHER woman in a van cuts me off. I won’t mention names because she could be a Signal full-page advertiser. But, her van boldly noted that she was in the Acme Mobile Home Spray Tanning Business. 

Which answers the question on how Wile E. Coyote is the color he is.

The sides of the white van?

Blotchy Brown, which, I believe, was one of those wretched black exploitation films from the 1970s.

It got me to thinking.

How does Home Spray Tanning work?

I mean, obviously, you can’t lug a 55-gallon drum of Burnt Sienna into someone’s house, chain yourself to the staircase and start blasting the offending customer with a fire hose.

You’d have a brown home interior, along with brown sofas, brown artwork, brown urn of ashes of your late grandmother, brown spouse and your annoying little schnauzer, who is brown.

And unhappy.

Are tarps involved?

Painters’ detail tape?

Does the personal question: “Do you have a pair of underwear you never want to wear again?” often come up?

Funny thing?

I’ve never been asked that. Not on a date. Not on a job interview. Not in my SAT tests.

I would think if you’ve ordered a Home Spray Tanning process out of a dented soiled van, you’re going to have to get hosed outside, like, on the front lawn.

These are the high holy days of hepcat daddy immorality where the 279 various sexual identifications, real or imagined, are all given equal weight. Maybe a male — and I won’t say, “guy” because if you’re getting a spray paint tan, you ain’t one — would get one of these drive-by skin discolorations. But, I’m guessing, it’s mostly women who want to look like a 60-year-old butt-rubbed saddle.

What’s the process here?

Does the tanning technician, dressed in a hazmat suit, goggles, swim fins and goofy smile, just let ’er rip and throw a bucket of oak tree-colored primer on you as you stand in the middle of your Valencia cul-de-sac, eyes tightly closed, holding your breath?

Paint roller and extension pole?

Basting brush?

Marking pen?

I would imagine the customer would have to get naked, or, partially so.

Can you imagine if a procedure like this takes off, all over our riparian planned urban community, women by the thousands are standing nude in the streets, getting splattered by what looks like sewage while children merrily ride their bikes and disinterested husbands take out engines in their driveways? And, if naked while standing on their 4 square feet of front lawn, wouldn’t things like twigs, leaves and bugs stick to your feet, drying into a sickly tie-dye look, only in brown?

For the sake of science and the First Amendment, I have to ask. Is the process water-based? And, if so, when it rains, does it look like you’re a bad batch of colby cheese?

It would seem to me that you’d have to pay up front because your fingers would be sticky. And it seems like you could never sweat because it would leave unsightly streaks, like the doughnut lady at the hardware store.

Also — what about if you’re the Mobile Tanning Engineer?

There’s always that invasive question the local police just love to ask when they pull you over:

“Excuse me, Sir or Madam. Mind if we take a look to check if there any headless dead bodies in your dented plain white van?”

John Boston is Earth’s most prolific humorist and has earned 119 major writing awards. He comes by his winning smile and tan naturally.

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