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Smith did not buy that opinion completely but conceded that sometimes jargon can be better than plain talk. As an example, he cited another letter, this one from a man describing George Allen's analysis of a play on a telecast of a Los Angeles Rams game.
"After a Ram play," the man wrote, "there appeared to have been some hesitation on the part of Quarterback Pat Haden. Vin Scully asked George what had happened. This is what I deduced happened from watching the play and listening to Allen's reply. Haden noted the opponents' pass defenders nearest the sidelines were perhaps a few steps closer than normal. This led to the conclusion that possibly one or more very large linebackers were about to abandon their customary defensive areas and blitz in with the avowed purpose of removing young Mr. Haden's head. Therefore, Haden changed the play as arranged in the huddle by calling an audible (different signal) to his teammates. Receiving the ball from the center, Haden ran a few steps out of his customary passing position and threw the ball for a short gain to the receiver so designated."
"Heck," wrote Smith, "that's not jargon. That's poetry."
Even as the "me" decade of the '70s draws to an end, vanity remains as marketable as ever. Among the newest businesses to spring up around the country are suntan parlors where for a fee a person can stand in a phone-booth-like chamber to get an allover tan from ultraviolet lights.
Using a sunlamp to ward off winter pallor is hardly a new idea, but the tanning centers are. Customers usually come in daily to get their tans before switching to biweekly maintenance visits. On the average, it takes 10 sessions to bronze a body, and though the duration of the visits varies, they generally start out at 30 seconds to three minutes, depending on skin type, and gradually increase to as many as 20 minutes.
According to John Ramuno, who operates Tan-Rite in San Diego, winter and presummer are his busiest seasons, and the package plans, ranging in cost from $39 for 15 visits to $225 for 188, are popular Christmas gifts for the person who has everything but glowing skin. Ramuno says there is a slight health benefit to be gained in the ultraviolet conversion of cholesterol into vitamin D, but basically tanning centers are meant for those who just want to look good.
Unfortunately, there is also the possibility of developing skin cancer. Dr. Joseph Walter, a dermatologist and assistant professor of dermatology at UC-San Diego School of Medicine, is especially concerned about people in skin groups one and two, which include redheads and light-skinned, fair-haired people who freckle.
"The entire area is one that should be gone into with great caution," Walter warns. "The incidence of skin cancer has increased drastically since World War II, when people began exposing more of their bodies to the sun for long periods."