Hi. In case you’ve been living under a rock, you know that today, throughout this fine nation of ours, at various times, you will be able to see AT LEAST a partial solar eclipse.
What is a solar eclipse? Glad you asked. It’s when the moon passes between the sun and the Earth, partially blocking out the sun and, in this particular case, for up to like three minutes in each location where you’re viewing. So basically, it’s like when you’re at Trader Joe’s and somebody who either don’t know, don’t show or just don’t care that you’re already in line steps in front of you and then you begin the “Oh, no, she didn’t” (it’s almost always a white woman) dance until she gets the point and says, “I’m sorry, were you in line?” then walks behind you roughly three minutes after she pretended to be oblivious about said fact. Yep, just like that.
Anyway, for many of the black people I scientifically polled (no black people were harmed during the scientific polling—I did not poll anybody), the solar eclipse is somewhere between the release of new Pro-Keds and new Oreo flavors on the list of things we collectively seem to be anticipating.
This is not to say that there are no black people who are totes excited for this event. In the USA, this is is pretty rare, like police convictions. So I’m sure there are throngs of people of all race, creed and class who are excited about this event. Even I have some eclipse glasses. I’m currently in Madison, Ala., where we should be able to see about a 97 percent eclipse or something. Point is, while folks aren’t exactly like, “Dog, you eclipsin’ today?” most folks who are able will probably find some way to check it out because why not?
With that said, here are five very important things to keep in mind before getting your eclipse on:
Look, I’m having a hard time believing that I can’t just throw on my polarized sunglasses I paid extra for to get the “Ray-Ban P” on the edge, too, but apparently you need some extra-special NASA-approved they-look-like-movie-3D glasses to see this shit. I don’t typically listen to white people who tell me what to do as a rule (unless they’re cutting my check, and then I typically talk shit under my breath as I complete my task), but the white folks talking about this have on lab coats and pocket protectors and several Ph.D.s. Point is, when THOSE Hidden Figures-ass white folks get to talkin’, it might be worth listening to. Don’t stare at the sun like an ol’ dumbass if you don’t have benefits, fam. (Or if you have benefits.)
Pretty sure you CAN get fired for looking at the eclipse without a doctor’s note. Think about it like this: Unless your (probably) white boss says, “Hey, why don’t you all take the rest of the day off to go check out this thing that only happens every, what, 3 million years (give or take 2.9999999 million years),” you probably shouldn’t NOT go to work for this.
THIS IS NOT A BROWN LIQUOR EVENT. I repeat, THIS IS NOT A BROWN LIQUOR EVENT. A nice merlot or white zinfandel should do the trick. Or perhaps a tall glass of water. For most of us, this shit is happening right about now, which means IT’S THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY. Drinking a whole-ass bottle of Henny might not be the move because you probably didn’t get the day off, so you’ll still have to go to work. See No. 2.
4. If you’re going to sit outside in the sun waiting for it to happen because it’s an event for you, sit in the sun responsibly.
Just because you’re black doesn’t mean you can’t get burned. Ask Usher. If you’re going to sit out all day long, make sure you put on some suntan lotion or something with some SPF in it. I typically use Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Suncare stuff because I like smelling like cocoa butter; it’s provocative and gets the people going.
Because the news has been breaking into police shootings and Trump shenanigans, I know it sounds exciting to talk about this eclipse like it’s going to change your life. You will still have to pay your bills. That late notice ain’t gon’ disappear. Jordan release dates aren’t changing, and chitlins still gon’ taste like ass. You’ll have a memory, not a winning lottery ticket. If you owe somebody some money, they’re still going to want it. Point is, you might see this joint (that you can’t take pictures of because I believe it might fry your phone—my 8-year-old daughter told me this, so I have no idea how accurate it is) and be like, that’s it? That’s all? Yes. That’s it. That’s all. But memories.
(Also, if you’ve already seen it, that’s just awesome for you.)