Maybe you’ve seen the woman to the right before? You know, either hanging on a rack inside a plastic pouch labeled “beef jerky,” or perhaps worn across a particular jaunty pilot’s shoulders as a bomber jacket, or maybe even in your nightmares after watching one or more iterations of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre series?
Probably not, though. More likely you’ve seen her on TV, in the newspaper and splattered across the Internet as the Woman Who’s Dumb Enough to Let Her Daughter Get Burned From Staying In The Tanning Booth Too Long (Which Is Bad Enough, But It’s Illegal For Daughter To Be In There At All.) (We’re going to have to shorten that name if we want to make her a superheroine or the lead villain in her own horror movie.) As the police tell it, Ms. Patricia Krentcil is just so into tanning that when her family went to the tanning salon in Nutley, N.J. (of course it was New Jersey), her 6-year-old daughter hopped into a booth to give her skin that same melanoma-shine. They thought that, in addition to her “fresh out of the Egyptian pyramid” look, she should take home a child endangerment charge as well.
Krentcil disputes the account, saying that her daughter never entered the booth. The tanning salon owner is backing this up, as are Krentcil’s husband and son (Sidenote: The whole family goes to watch Mom tan? Isn’t there somewhere else they could be? At the gym, or perhaps doing the laundry?). This is good for Krentcil, as New Jersey state law doesn’t allow those under the age of 14 to bombard their skin with artificial cancer-causing UV rays; they have to stay outside and do it on the beach for free.
I don’t know if Krentcil did it. That’s for the courts to decide. I do, however, want to note a few things.
Krentcil said she loves tanning and has visited salons for many years but would not do anything to jeopardize her daughter’s health.
“Never in my life would I endanger my child by putting her in a tanning booth. I’m not dumb,” she said before her scheduled hearing.
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Just because you wouldn’t put your child in a tanning booth (until it’s legal) doesn’t necessarily preclude you from being dumb. A cursory examination of your football-colored skin would seem to indicate it is in fact the opposite. And, you know, there are more dangers in life than just bombarding yourself (and your children) with harmful radiation.
This whole thing got started when Krentcil’s kid complained of itching at school, resulting from a nasty sunburn. According to Krentcil, the kid mentioned that she had been to a tanning salon with her mother and school officials started assuming from there. Krentcil maintains her daughter received the sunburn by “being outside on a recent warm day.”
This is where the logic falls apart. Again, I’m not saying Krentcil dragged her kindergartner into the tanning booth. I’m saying if your child is outside long enough on a “warm day” to get a sunburn so severe it interferes with her schoolwork, that child endangerment charge should stick, regardless.