Edit March 24, 2010, 5:18 PM: To everyone who keeps stumbling on to this entry while trying to figure out if black lights are bad for you–yes, they are. Black lights emit UVA radiation, which destroys Vitamin A in the skin and breaks down collagen fibers. This damages DNA indirectly (and damaged DNA in your skin causes skin cancers.) It seems also to cause damage to your eyes, or so says wikipedia.
Someone recently pitched an idea to me that caught me somewhat off guard. One of his friends had rattled off a list of rather sexually adventurous folks in his circle of friends and suggested that they spray paint the windows of one of their apartments black and have a weekend-long orgy in the darkened apartment. To help their eyes stay acclimated to the darkness, they decided that they would put blacklights in the bathroom and the refrigerator.
My first impulse was not to say, “What are you thinking, man? Half the people you listed are as emotional stable as teeter-totters in hurricanes! What kind of awful idea is this?! There is no way this can end well. It will end in disaster and despair and possibly mass suicide.”
Instead, I said, “You don’t bloody want a black light in the bathroom or the fridge. Or you will never want to eat or pee again.” After all, no amount of cleaning will ever get a fridge or a bathroom clean enough that a black light won’t highlight every bit of ick and grime and mold and crusted organic matter and splatter and gross. It will illuminate both of those places in ways that no bathroom or fridge should ever be highlighted. Think one of those creepy forensic shows with the lights on the bedroom sheets and multiply it by several magnitudes of awful and frightening.
I think this is really a very insightful look into the human mind. Because when an idea is so huge and bad, possibly intractably huge and bad, it’s much easier to approach the part of it that is small and bad. Small and bad can be remedied. Intractably huge and bad is something much more difficult to approach.