T has been talking about his tan lines.
You remember T, don’t you? The man who developed a lawn fixation, a man who suspects his socks of sedition, the man who believes he may have discovered the home-made pancake?
The man who abandoned Minnesota for Florida?
“You should see me. I am so beautiful,” he says to me recently. “I am the color of brown that makes women swoon.”
“Women are falling over?”
“On to their backs,” he chuckles.
“You haven’t been making them those pancakes, have you?”
“Hey! We don’t talk like that,” he says. There is a slight pause in the conversation. “Seriously, you’d have thought that the alcohol would’ve cooked out…”
“T!” I shout.
“Nah,” he says, laughing. “I’ve been cleared of all charges. Those pancakes are completely on the up and up.”
There is another pause as we both consider the possibility of drugged pancakes.
“Still,” he says. “I am a deep, dark brown.”
“Dude,” I say. “I swear that’s all you talk about. You and your tanned hide. What’s up with you, Mr. Just Another Day in Paradise? Why do you hate Whitey?”
He chokes, laughing. “What?!”
“Since you moved to Florida a little over a year ago, that’s all you talk about is how brown you are. Seriously, man. Embrace your Caucasian-ness.”
“Oh, you Yankees,” he chortles. “Always hatin’ on the brown-skinned man.”
“Oh, shut up,” I say, irritably. “You only wish your legs were white and pink and blue. Who’s the bigger patriot, huh? Who’s got the pink white and blue legs? Me, that’s who. I’m practically a walking flag up here.”
“Been there, done that,” he says generously. His voice has taken on a paternal tone, as if addressing someone who has refused to see the light despite having his big brown finger point the way.
“Did you get my picture?” he asks. “The one of my feet?”
“Is that what that is? I thought it was a picture of a hobbit trying on a saddle shoe.”
T sighs. “That doesn’t make any sense,” he says sorrowfully.
“It’s all I got,” I mutter.
“Why you little…” he threatens.
“Why I oughta…” I counter.
The conversation again goes quiet.
It’s hard to argue with a man who will be swimming in the ocean later in the day.
But I keep at it.