Saturday, March 15, 2014
Tattoo Is As Tattoo Does
An acquaintance of mine had another tattoo inked into his arm recently. It is his 20th tattoo. It is a nice tattoo, executed by a talented artist who has been in the tattoo business for twenty plus years.
His name couldn't be recalled by the acquaintance however, and since it wasn't signed, I cannot give him credit for his artistry. All apologies.
Tattoos interest me, for the obvious artistic angle, but also for the psychological angle. When a person decides to permanently, indelibly, have a bit of skin art done, it becomes a part of them, sometimes a small part with little relevance to outsiders, and sometimes a huge part that is intended to proclaim to the world exactly who and what that person is.
However, tattoos do not interest me to the point where I've ever had one done. Which is somewhat surprising to myself if no one else.
I mean, all the necessary ingredients for a "bad judgment" tattoo have been uber present in my life - raised by a single mother in a less than desirable neighborhood, worked as a Carny in my rebellious teens, four-year enlistment in the US military, artsy-fartsy power pop punker leanings - literally, I'm the living embodiment of someone who should have several tattoos.
Hell, I've even sketched out tattoo designs for people who then had those designs tattooed on their bodies.
There is a reason I do not have any tattoos though, one I have expressed before, but in general terms.
In the past when asked why I don't have any tattoos, I've always responded by saying I was raised in a neighborhood wherein the older kids told us younger kids that tattoos were to be avoided, as they would just become another way for the police to identify you.
That is a half-truth. I was told that directly, but it wasn't by an older kid in my neighborhood, it was by the father of one of my friends.
It was when I was 9 or 10. This friend's father had a tattoo on his arm - it was quite a cliché too, a hula dancer complete with coconut shell bra. I thought it was the coolest thing ever.
When I stated that I thought it was the coolest thing I had ever seen to my friend's father, my friend's father looked at me very intently - I can still remember this quite clearly - and said in a very direct fashion; "Don't ever get a tattoo, it just narrows your identity down for the cops."
Now, it wasn't like I was planning a career as a criminal, but in the neighborhood I grew up in that was a viable option. Those words resounded, big time.
That being said, every so often I do get the urge to get a tattoo, on my right shoulder. I've actually sketched it out. A knight on a rearing horse holding a sword in his left hand, a banner below him emblazoned with the words "Fortune Favors The Prepared".
But I've always managed to quash that urge...so far.