I saw this guy’s mug shot in the news a few months back. He looked familiar to me. I couldn’t imagine that I could have met a guy with all those tatts and not recalled him. I figured that perhaps I knew him long ago, and tried to picture him sans artwork. Even then, I couldn’t place him. I gave up on trying to figure it out and resumed my humdrum life of working for a living and writing blog posts for the amusement of my seventeen loyal followers.
A few days ago, my wife and I were trying to clean some junk out of the basement. After fifteen minutes though, we were hopelessly frozen in our pursuits, as we had each become stuck looking at
crap artifacts from our past. Throwing stuff away is tough when there’s even a glimmer of emotional attachment. I pulled out a spiral bound notebook of one of my grown children from what might have been 5th or 6th grade. I didn’t bother flipping it open to see the scribbled notes, but stared instead at the mural of doodles on the cover.
In a flash, it hit me. The tattooed mugshot was not of anyone I knew, but his artwork bore a striking similarity to the notebook covers of middle-schoolers everywhere. Old timers like me may also find a certain resemblance to the walls adjacent to payphones in college dorms of the late 70’s and early 80’s.
As I just admitted, I’m no spring chicken. Back in the halcyon days of my youth, tattoos were for guys in the Navy and Hell’s Angels. I suppose prison inmates had them too, but I lead a sheltered life back then, which limited my exposure to only the tattoos of sailors and bikers.
Obviously times have changed. The future has arrived, and it’s not entirely pretty. We have wristwatch phones and cars that park themselves. We also have morbidly obese exhibitionists twerking on YouTube and scores of people who flaunt their God-given right to cover themselves with as many tattoos as they desire.
Back in my college days, I had an acquaintance who was going to get a tattoo of a lightning bolt on his hip. At the time, he was a freshman who played attack on the lacrosse team, and the image had a degree of legitimacy. Of course, now he’s likely a pudgy investment banker in his mid-fifties, and the bolt may be over-shadowed by a nearby hip replacement scar. Before going for the ink, he tried to get many of his teammates to join him. I recalled considering it for a few seconds. At that time in my life, I was lucky to be able to scrape together enough loose change for a six pack, so paying for a tattoo was out of the question. Still, I considered what image I’d choose. I politely declined, but the thought of the Zig Zag Man on my arm did stick in my head.
A few years later, I put my fine arts degree to use tending bar. One of my fellow mixologists was a Jewish kid from Cherry Hill, NJ. I was under the impression that tattoos were against his religion, but he was crazy about inking himself up. He had a bunch of body art and was constantly looking ahead to the next one. Like the lacrosse player, he was always trying to convince people to join him. Newly married to a woman who abhorred tattoos, I didn’t consider it for more than a fraction of a second. I did think about what image I’d pick though, and briefly recalled the one I’d considered in college. I shuddered at how horrible my former choice was, and said a silent prayer of thanks that I had avoided going through with it.
The cycle has repeated itself every so often throughout my life, where I think of what tattoo I would get and where I would put it, but each time, I recall the images I’d considered the previous times and realize how awful and obsolete they’d look on my body in the present day.
I have tons of friends and colleagues now who have tattoos. For the most part, their choices of tattoos strike me as somehow appropriate for each of them . I don’t shake my head and wonder what they were thinking when they chose what they chose. In my defense, I don’t have any friends with tattoos of Mickey Mouse, Captain Kirk or bedazzled shlongs on their faces.
Like most people, I tend to be far more critical of my own decisions than those of others. Lord knows I’ve done my share of things which I realized were mistakes. The prospect of living with my bad decisions is a fact of life, I don’t need illustrations.
49 thoughts on “Tattoo Or Not To Tattoo?”
Tattoos are a weird thing. I have a few and I like to think they are tasteful and suit me. I really don’t (and never will) understand joke tattoos (see penis on face man) a joke is funny for a little while, a tattoo is for life.
I’m not sure the penis tatt was that much of a joke. The guy looks really serious in that pic.
I, too, have considered a tattoo every few years for the past 15 years. Just like you, it wasn’t a priority and the ‘what’ and ‘where’ are big decisions. In the end, I have no regrets. Not quite what the penis-face man is going to think, well, maybe, well, you hope so? Geesh!
Enjoyed your post!
Thanks T-Buns! Back in the old days, I used to enjoy walking on the beach and smoking a cigar. These days public smoking is no longer in vogue, so I spend my beach walks looking at tattoos, and either marveling or smirking at the wonder of it all.
Before joining the Church I considered getting more “religious” tattoos, like for all the different world religions. I’m glad I didn’t, but I wouldn’t have regretted it, at least I don’t think so.
I know quite a few people who pick a given verse or psalm and go with that as a tattoo, and of course there are a myriad of crosses to choose from…or Zig Zag Man
I love the idea of tattooing your illustrations. You could make them really small. They are nothing like Darth Vader!!!
I have a few of my more involved things framed, – etchings and drawings, etc. The nice thing is I get to change which walls they’re from time to time. As for the Easter Bunny in repose or the pig in a dress, I would really want to be able to change the wall frequently.
It’s good to see that brains won out!
Lots of intelligent people have tatts, and lots of idiots don’t. I don’t have any, and I may or may not be an idiot.
I told my mom that she and I should go out and get some fake tattoos to freak out my sister. But I have no interest in the real thing. If I did, it would surely be an image of a Boston Terrier. And then that would confirm to everyone that I’m just a crazy dog lady. To each his or her own, but I’m frankly horrified by those tats in your pics.
Good choice on the Boston Terrier; they’re black and white so you wouldn’t have to worry about colors fading, plus they’re loyal, so there would be little chance of one leaving your shoulder to find a new home on your butt.
My butt is reserved for an entire litter of Bostons.
Puppies are so cute they sometimes drive us to make foolish decisions. Don’t do anything rash.
A friend of mine once got the Greek letters of the ICHTHUS tattooed on her wrist. That’s seriously the only one I’ve ever seen that I liked, considered classy, or would ever think of getting on myself! It was small and tasteful, and in a place that likely was never gonna sag. 😉
I’ve written about tatts before. I have long believed what I wrote on the caption of the first pic in this one. https://1pointperspective.wordpress.com/2012/05/08/manon-kubler-is-that-samoan-for-reader-with-great-taste/ I just wouldn’t trust a white guy tattooing me in Philly to understand Mandarin Chinese.
LOL Me, either. 🙂
They’re definitely not for everyone, and if you’re not 100% certain then they’re not for you – at least not yet. But no matter how many I get, I will never have them on my neck or face – that just totally limits your options for careers.
My face is unsightly enough without a weiner inked on my cheek. Though I guess a Groucho Marx mustache is an option.
Call me crazy, I just think some “professionals” really ought to look professional. Dick on face ain’t professional.
Unless your profession is politician, but then it becomes kind of redundant.
Wouldn’t that be “truth in advertising”?
I suppose you’re right, but at the same time, it’s kind of like “Hey, I’m a dickface” said the dickface.
Very true. This kind of tat makes me wonder if the artist had any integrity.
Perhaps. Though I guess the weiner tatt isn’t bad as weiner drawings go. Of course, loyal readers ill understand that I have a degree of weiner drawing experience myself. If not, refer to this post: https://1pointperspective.wordpress.com/2013/07/29/a-weiner-by-any-other-name/
Sorry, nothing against someone who draws wieners on paper. It just seems like a whole different ball game when your medium is human skin. But that could just be me.
I understand…it was just a shameless attempt on my part to get one more hit on my Anthony Weiner post (plus, believe it or not, some folks actually liked my drawing, though to date, no one has requested a framed copy)
I went and looked, and I must say, it’s the most interesting drawing of a wiener I’ve ever seen. My husband is also an artist and I’m going to show him when he gets home – I just know he’ll get a kick out of it.
My only regret not putting the condom cap on him at a more jaunty angle.
I read this post just before heading out to my tattoo appointment. I’ll let you guess what happened next.
A quick photo to my email would be sufficient. Do they do good ink work down Georgia way?
I’m still stunned from the penis tatt. No so much about the penis, but the razor stubble on the ear ….why? But you can not be more right about the notebook doodle face in the mug shut…his mother must be so proud.
The source for that notebook tatt guy? 6abc – right here in the Delaware Valley!
Tattoos are definitely a personal choice, one you live with forever. Some people get them just because, others are commemorating something in their life. I got my first tat when I was 17 (a very long time ago) I have since covered it with some else. All together I have 15, my most recent I had inked just last Friday. Every single one of my can easily be covered by clothing, if I want someone to see them I will show. All of mine are custom art, not flash (meaning out of some book).
Both of my sons have tattoos as well. They followed the same rule, be able to cover them with clothing. No hands, no face, no neck.
Personally, I love body art if it is tasteful. But that is just me.
I have always been happy with the ink I have, but after stumbling across this I now feel even better about my tats. (and abit more intelligent somehow….) Thanks
Glad to have a new reader! The thing with tattoos, like any other sort of expression is that it comes down to a matter of personal taste. Some people have different taste than others, and a few just seem to have none at all. I’m sure your body art is tasteful and meaningful to you, as it should be. Personally, I haven’t found the tatt which will compliment my liver spots and eczema.
That is an issue – I want one on the back of my neck but freckles have denied me of that ! I grew up with an uncle that does tats so tats were ‘normal’. So far, I have shown restraint & hopefully taste… A blue moon (long story- represents my dad) and a favorite line of music on my forearm….which took me YEEEARS to decide on.
I suspect (from what I’ve read so far) that the real issue may be finding a tat to encompass your vivid personality ! Looking forward to more…
Stay tuned, I’m just wrapping up my two cents on a recent big-budget piece of garbage on TV.
so many to choose from… !
I don’t know how I missed this gem! I figure facial tattoos are a really smart career move, if your ambition is to be either assistant manager at the Hot Topic in the mall or someone’s bitch in the slammer.
By the way, that’s not that guy’s beard -his roses have fungus.
Between the fungus and the thorn mites, they’re almost not worth the trouble…almost.
I am late to this post party. Advice to future doctors: Become a dermatologist. You will work only four days a week, have a loaded practice, and make a mother lode of $ removing tattoos who regret personal illustration.
Correction: “make a mother lode of $ removing tattoos FROM THOSE who regret personal illustration.”
Lucky for you, there was no need to employ a board certified dermatologist to make that correction. That’s why I always work in virtual ink.
Oh boy. I’d never get one but I did try to convince my kids to get one. That’s weird, right???
As much as I value comments, I’m going to risk upsetting you and agree that encouraging your kids to get tatts is indeed weird, especially if they were under 10 years of age at the time.