I always felt that my original layer of skin was sufficient. There really wasn’t a need for a new one. Although I’ll have to admit that It wasn’t the best skin. It was a bit pale, blotchy around the cheeks, prone to growing hair on the back. It didn’t tan very well, either. While other dudes were getting golden brown on the Jersey shore, I was just getting a little red like an Oscar Mayer wiener, no matter how long I was in the sun.
It did serve a purpose. It kept me warm most of the time. It kept my organs in my body so no one could see them and be grossed out. It had very good elasticity. I could move around pretty easily. It seemed to cover my entire body, from head to toe pretty seamlessly. Occasionally it would rip or bruise at the knees if I stumbled, but all in all it held up pretty good and it was reasonably well-made. I had very few complaints.
Then I moved to California by the sea, and my single layer of skin did not seem to be sufficient anymore.
I couldn’t take a normal dip into the ocean like I did in the summers in Jersey or when I headed south to Clearwater for spring training. The Pacific ocean was way too cold for my skin. I had to find another way of coping with the cold water because I wanted to enjoy being in the ocean–jumping waves, boogie boarding, and swimming.
I know that some reptiles grow extra skin when needed. My former cat, Puff, had two different coats, a black overcoat and a white undercoat. I’m aware that many homeless people wear up to seven sets of clothing at once. I know some people can’t wait to dive into the cold water like those who are members of the Polar Bear Club. But most humans like myself have very thin, sensitive skin that doesn’t like to be in cold water.
So I visited a surf shop in the Carp, just a few miles south of Santa Barbara. I forked over a couple hundred, plus a few dollars for water shoes. In turn I bought a second skin, a thick rubber skin with a zipper in the back that is perfect for chilly water recreation.
The surfer dudes called it a wetsuit.
Read more about my second skin, My First Wetsuit.