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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Sunscreen

Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of 97...

Wear sunscreen. If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now. - Intro to Mary Schmich's Chicago Tribune article [lyrics] later put to music by Buz Luhrmann - 1997
I was graduating elementary school when this was written, and it became a hit song while I was at WITS, I believe. I always thought it was excellent, not only for the advice it gave over (Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long, and in the end, it's only with yourself. ... Remember compliments you receive; forget the insults. (if you succeed in doing this, tell me how). ... Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard.), but for how it was presented: Everyone has their own advice, based off of their own personal experiences - it's always good to listen to, but obviously just one person's viewpoint. It's good to take a little bit from everyone and figure out what suits your own situation best. (And obviously, this can be applied in so many aspects of life.)

I was reminded of this by R' Yakov Horowitz's article this week, which learns a slightly different lesson from... well, sunblock:

Imagine that you work in a pharmacy during the summer months. All day long, day after day, people hobble into your store suffering from the effects of painful sunburn injuries. Well, you are a compassionate person, so you dutifully guide them to the section of the drugstore where they can purchase the various sprays, creams and lotions that treat sunburn pain. One would imagine that after a while you would be quite motivated to direct all customers to purchase a tube of sun block and a hat. After all, for a tiny investment of time and money, one could prevent sunburn rather than treat it – and avoid many days of horrible anguish. ...

But even a cursory analysis of the teens at risk scene begs the question: "Why aren't we spending more time, effort, and resources on prevention rather than intervention?"
It's a great piece, as is his other one this week on possible suggestions from his own point of view. Take a few minutes to read them both; and be sure to wish him a hearty mazel tov on the birth of a grandchild. Finally, don't end up like a co-worker of mine: Wear some sunscreen.

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