It Must Be my Mediterranean Skin

It was a slow day at Jacques Penney. That’s what I called JC Penney when I worked there when I was a teenager. I said it with a heavy faux French accent. We were all standing around, me and a few women I worked with who were also bored. These were older women. They had husbands and kids. They worked for Jacques on nights and weekends for extra money.

“Ugh, my skin is peeling from this sunburn,” one of them women scratched her shoulder blades against a display. I joked about taking one of the hands off a mannequin so scratching would be easier. 

She looked me up and down. It was summer. I was 17 and tan. “You don’t burn, do you?”

“Nope,” I smiled back at her. “I think about the sun and I get tan.” Then I paused, looked up and to the right, as if deep in thought. Then I showed her my arm, “See, it’s already more tan.”

“Well, you’re Polish. You have that Mediterranean skin,” she replied, thoughtfully.

I conjured a map of Europe in my head. The summer before I had vacationed in Germany, Poland and Italy with my family. It took a long time to drive to Rome from Krakow, Poland. 

Pop quiz, Internet! Do you know why it took a long time to drive from Krakow to Rome?

BJ Knapp author of Beside the Music tans easily despite being Polish

It’s because Poland is nowhere damn near the Mediterranean Sea, my friends.

BJ Knapp is the author of Beside the Music, available for purchase here. Please sign up for the Backstage with BJ Knapp mailing list to get updates on events, signings, dog pictures and so much more.

added on 07.24.17

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