PATRICK MCVAY

WRITER

The Zincman Cometh

Is this the year when I break out of my landlocked state and start boating seriously? It could be. I look like a boater, when I’m at the helm with a big grin on my face and zinc oxide on my nose, like it’s 1969 and I’m a lifeguard at Green Lakes State Park.

Maybe it was more like ’72, but it sounds better to say ‘69, which was a year of upheaval during which humans set foot on the moon and half of the world’s musicians died of drug overdoses. I was 5 in 1969; it seems reasonable to assume that I probably visited the beach at Green Lakes State Park, where I first saw the white, zinc-slathered noses of yesteryear.

Meanwhile, people in other states weren’t bothering with zinc oxide. “Zinc Oxide is for Pussies,” was their slogan. They would gather together without masks or a pocketful of zinc and give the finger to the sun. They believed the sun was full of shit, the jerky central orb of our solar system, around which everything circles. A pitiful and angry little glowing ball of burning gases, ticked off because it is relatively insignificant in our universe.  

Most of those maskless and zinc oxide-less folks are now dead from getting cancer of the nose, and their ashes are scattered all over creation. The rest of us are still alive, enjoying the pandemic.

Maybe we should have skipped the zinc oxide.

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