Georgia's summer sun is a miserable scorcher. It puts the "red" in "redneck." It fries our southern ladies to a crisp. It bakes our sidewalks so our children burn their toes as they venture outdoors shoeless. Georgia's sun is brutal.
And it's coming after me, having spotted my receding hairline and a patch of fresh, pale skin that it can blister and burn. You see, I'm a pasty, fair-skinned fellow of Scottish and Irish descent. My ancestors were designed for the cold mountain air, not the beating heat of noonday. They were much more likely to outrun a bear than a sunburn.
But what makes this problem absolutely unfair is my failing hair cover. McCoy hair is untrustworthy. It starts out smooth and silky, and just when you get comfortable with a comb and shampoo - boom! - no more hair. And that's what the Georgia sun loves to find: another McCoy with a big, pale target on the top of his head, just waiting for some fresh UV light.
To combat the scorching rays, I've started wearing hats and caps. I went to a department store a few years ago - over at the mall - and bought two new hats. The clerk who helped me was kind and didn't say what the mirror did: "You look awful in a hat." Yes, I do look awful, odd, silly, and ancient. The only reason I wear those cloth and canvas coverups is to keep skin cancer away. But I hate hats and caps. Hats make my head sweat. I forget to take them with me when I go out. I leave them in restaurants after meals.
The other day - as I was entering my car - the wind blew my baseball cap off, and I had to chase it down the street.
And the sun saw it all, and laughed. "There he goes. Trying to hide that pasty white target from me." My "McCoy hair" - so called - is going, going, going. Soon it will be gone. And I'll be a hat and cap man, against my will.
And the sun will just wait for me, like it's done with all my ancestors.
It will wait, and shine, and melt the sidewalk and asphalt, until something softer and whiter comes along, after a big gust of wind, a careless restaurant visit, or a day of dangerous vanity.
David McCoy, a notorious storyteller and proud Yellow Jacket, lives in Covington and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org