The BBC is carrying a story about some teen who has toasted herself down at the local tanning salon. It’s headline grabbing stuff. Fuck the economy. Fuck our troops dying in Afghanistan and Iraq. Fuck Morrissey’s new album. This is what’s important. The Health & Safety blunders of cretins. And it’s a timely reminder. Because, let’s face it, how easy is it to strap yourself into a sun bed until your skin blisters like gloss paint under a blow lamp? We’ve all done it. It’s a simple mistake to make. Especially if you’re a fucking half-wit. This unfortunate fourteen year old developed her melanomas for the standard four minutes or so but on reflection felt that she didn’t look enough like a freshly creosoted garden fence. She wanted to fucking burn. So she banged in another four quid, set the dial to ‘Hiroshima’ and went back under for another twenty to twenty-five minutes. Gas Mark 25. Grapple X. I ain’t got my money’s worth unless I get the stench of burning epidermis. I wonder if it pinged when she was done. Serving suggestion: Stir well and let stand for forty-five seconds. She remerged like a sunbather from Christmas Island c. 1958. Skin scoured by UV until she had 70% first degree burns. Well fuck my spats. Quelle surprise, Rodney. There’s a fucking shocker, eh? Who’d have thought that was going to happen?
The BBC are carrying a cheeky photo of her back. Her bra strap had acted like a stencil, giving us a glimpse of some uncooked flesh next to her tantastic burns for a before/after comparison. Grab a felt tip pen and sketch in a green cedar tree between her shoulder blades and she’s got the flag of Lebanon. The burns are impressive in that way that some other poor sod’s compound fracture holds you in morbid fascination. And X-rays of objects embedded in peoples’ heads. And this man survived despite the chisel through his brain. Sharp intake of breath through critically pursed lips. I bet that fucking hurts. She ended up in hospital. She got put on a drip and had to breathe through an oxygen mask. She’s going through fifty tubs of live yoghurt a day. Doused on the burns. Longley Farm are shipping them to her door. She’s hoping for a nice copper-tone tan at the end of it. She’s the envy of her mates.
The BBC reports: ‘No-one was at the salon to prevent her from using the beds or stop her from using the booth for as long as she did.’ Would you credit that? How irresponsible can you get? What were they thinking? Didn’t they realize people would just keep roasting themselves until they browned down to the bone? Have these people no sense of responsibility? Thoughtless bastards. What do they think we are? Beings capable of rational thought and personal responsibility? Get with the fucking plan. We’re all whinging morons. We’re bored monkeys. That’s the trouble with this country. Nobody wants to take accountability for our stupidity and irresponsibility. There should have been some attendant on hand, badged up, certified by the local college as a tanning safety officer, beating her out from under the UV lights once she started to sizzle. Perhaps they could poke them with some thermostat. Like half-cooked burgers at a roadside café. Dab it into an orifice to get a reading. I’m sorry, love, you’ll have to come out. You’re hotter than the sun.
But it’s not just tanning salons. What about the other places where we’re expected to take care of our own safety, despite all the temptations to act like a fucking idiot? I want to see life guards down at the supermarket. Every aisle should be covered top and bottom just in case I start to beat myself ‘round the head with a tin of cockerleekie soup. Or decide to pour bleach down my gullet. Just to see what happens. Out of idle curiosity. Because I feel like pushing those boring boundaries. And what man hasn’t been tempted to poke cocktail stick down their Jap’s eye in the home baking section? It’s going to happen. Someone has to take responsibility. Somebody has to be on hand with the plasters. The tourniquet.
The hapless, peeling teen’s Mum is a Health & Safety Officer. No irony there. She wasn’t aware that some salons were un-staffed. She shakes her head. She frowns her lips. The disgrace of it. The reckless hunt for profits taking no account of their customers total fucking stupidity. It’s only natural that customers are going to be ignoring the big sign that said: ‘No under sixteens’. That warned of over-doing it. The teen’s Mum said that un-staffed salons posed ‘an enormous risk’. An even bigger risk than stupidity, perhaps. An even bigger threat to safety than being as thick as pig shit. The callous owner of the salon scratched his head and remarked coldly: ‘It’s unfortunate someone chose to ignore the warnings about sun beds.’ He’d got posters up. Warnings about over-use. Posters? Fucking posters? He’d got fucking posters up? Is that enough? Does he honestly think he’s done enough? How does he sleep at nights?
Anyway, I have to go. I’m heading up to the Co-op. To get some milk. To get some Toffee Crisps. Some orange juice. Some Honey Cornflakes. You never know, I might see what happens when I stick a bottle of J2O up my arse (Apple & Mango). Crown first. I bet they haven’t risk assessed the possibility of that happening, have they? Irresponsible twats.