Urban Myth and Skin Cander

Don’t get me wrong. I love urban myths. The one about the car following the woman home from the gas station is one of my favorites. The book The Choking Doberman is a fun read. And I love Snopes.com. (Check the top 25 hottest rumors.) At the same time I know one of things about urban myths is that they hang on forever. A good example of this is the ongoing thing about needing to drink 8 glasses of water everyday. It’s a myth.

Like many urban myths, it has a grain of truth at its core, but it’s gradually changed into something which is more than a little ways away from the original assertion. You don’t need to drink 8 glasses of water a day. You do need to drink some water, but you don’t necessarily need 8 glasses.

Why does the window tint guy care about the urban myth of 8 glasses of water? Because he knows some people are dismissive of things they hear floating around in the public conversation. In the case of the 8 glasses of water, that’s the right move. But another thing people are talking about is the rise in skin cancer and the need to control the amount of unprotected exposure to the sun. That’s true. More and more people are finding long-term exposure to the sun has its dangers.

I once had a guy come into my shop to have the front windows of his vehicle tinted. This is often a slightly tricky conversation for me because the vehicle code is quite specific about tinting the front windows. But not in this case. He knows exactly what he wants: a light on the front windows. His reason for this? He’s a dermatologist and his new residency requires him to make a 45 minute each way commute. He’s looking to protect himself, particularly his forearms, from excessive exposure to the sun. Skin cancer from too much sun is not a urban myth.

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