At wit's end I spent the rest of my weekend canvassing local tanning establishments, seeking professional commentary on the quality of Magers's tan and its likely origins. A place called Sun Place, which advertises itself as "The Official Tanning Salon of the Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders," seemed like a logical starting point, but a pleasant woman there told me that she had signed a contract prohibiting her from offering anything that might constitute confidential tanning information. Jill at Studio Tan in Hopkins was more helpful, hypothesizing that a tanner of Magers's stature might well be following an expensive sunless tanning regimen that involves a "mist-on" procedure, "sort of like a car wash." She allowed that a man of Magers's means might have his own home tanning booth. "A decent used tanning system could be had for around $1,000," she told me. Jill was unwilling, however, to offer anything that might pass for a professional critique of Magers's tan.
As Saturday rolled on, my investigations took a dark, highly irrational turn whose logic now entirely escapes me. I eventually ended up calling around to various meat markets around the Twin Cities in an attempt to discover whether it would be possible to make beef jerky in a tanning booth. A self-professed expert on meat smoking at a place called The Outdoor Cooking Store in White Bear Lake gave the matter more serious thought than it perhaps deserved. "To be honest, I've never tried it," he said. "But I'm pretty sure you could do it. If the temperature in the thing gets anywhere above 100 degrees you'd essentially be cold smoking. Between 130 and 160 degrees E. coli bacteria would have a field day, though, so the meat would have to be brined. But even at the lower temperatures you could probably make beef jerky in eight to sixteen hours."
City Pages Archive
Where does our favorite anchor go to roast his weenie?
Early Sunday morning, following a long night of drinking Melon Bombs, a toxic concoction that is a specialty of an Uptown watering hole, Budd Rugg found himself in a Minneapolis salon that employs my friends Crystal and Jessica. There, in a tanning booth cranked up to its maximum temperature, we attempted to bake a beef roast from Rainbow Foods. By the time we called off our experiment the sun was coming up and the roast had acquired the burnt-copper glaze--very Paul Magers-like, if I do say so--of a Slim Jim.