Friday, April 2, 2010

Used, Abused and Tattooed

I don’t have a tattoo. It’s entirely too permanent.
My friend in high school got a tattoo on his shoulder of a big rainbow. Little did he know 10 years later the gay community would make rainbows a battle cry. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
I’ve got a young family member who is 19 years old. She’s got the word “love” tattooed on one shoulder and the word “peace” on the other. Then in her young and unfaultable wisdom she had the word “one” printed on her right wrist, and “love” written on her left, an ode to her boyfriend with which she can extend her arms and show the world her feelings. It also happens to be a sell line for a chicken finger’s place called, “Raising Cane’s.”
“Raising Cane’s, One Love.” It’s on all the television commercials and radio jingles. What the hell was she thinking? He broke up with her about three months later, that act of love not being good enough but good enough to earn chicken fingers for life from the owner of Raising Canes.
A guy I know got “Comedy/Tragedy” tattooed on his forearm, the happy and sad face masks he associated with Mardi Gras. Little did he know there’s a gay bar in our hometown, called The Drama Club that uses the same logo on billboards everywhere. Go figure, not there's anything wrong with that. Here’s another tattoo story
I went on a business trip with a librarian who was one of the sweetest people you ever want to meet, very nice and enthusiastic about her job and would say things bright and cheery such as, “Hey Larry it is so very nice to see you again. I’m so glad you’re with us. How are you today?”
Others on this trip thought the same about her. She came off as such a good girl and very friendly, the kind you wouldn’t mind spending a six-hour flight with. You know the type, bubbly.
At dinner, sitting in a booth, her across from me next to a mirror, I noticed her shirtsleeve gathered haphazardly up her arm and in the reflection, a tattoo of a naked lady in a provacative pose. The lady’s arm was behind her head lounging back, with her legs open. When I saw it, I blinked real hard and it didn’t go away. So, I blinked again. It was still there and I thought, “Oh, you naughty librarian, you.”
Of course in the tattoo world they have the obligatory comic strip people who seem to be obsessed with body art.
I read a study on tattoos that said the shock value is waning and that people with four or more tattoos and piercing is more likely to do drugs and illegal activity. I guess it’s getting harder to freak the shit out of your neighbor but people will keep trying. I tend to agree only with the shock value of the study and not the drug analyses. I remember when a man piercing just one ear put the neighborhood on edge.
The last ten years saw an uncommon, likeable, increase of women with the lower back butterflies, abstract art, and words written right above “the goods.”
I ask again, what were they thinking? I would think they only expected a few intimate men or possibly the people on the beach to admire and ogle the top part of their ass, and imagine, as Opra put it, “the Va-J-J.” But, the thing that always comes back is the fact that the tattoo is not coming off without substantial work.
If I want to remember my life when looking in the mirror I look at scars. The one on my lip when at a bachelor party I got drunk and fell into the bumper of a car. The one on my knee when I crawled under a fence to get to a cigarette machine a twelve year old boy should not have tried to get to, my eyebrow that as a first grader I slipped on a cowboy shirt that my mother told me moments before to pick up and clean my room, and those were just the physical.
Next time you have the chance, look deeply in a mirror and see all the tattoos of time, they’re there, staring back with all the colors of the rainbow and all the colors of life, which is basically black and blue. Look through the black and blue, see the permanent pictures, it is the pictures that life has tattooed on you.

1 comment:

  1. Can't imagine being stuck with the Cane's slogan on my wrists!

    Fun seeing you at the conference yesterday.