Marked for What Remains of Life

I apologize for the gap in posts recently. The current wife and I have been gallivanting around Colorado and Texas, so there.

Upon our return, we plunged back into our established program of broadening our horizons through once-a-monthly activities that are outside our normal range. For instance, this program has had us attend a movie about opera which, except for the fat lady actually singing, I found most delightful. We also climbed a mountain. Although, as far as mountains go, this one wasn’t very high, did not require rappelling equipment and was completed in time for a late Sunday morning brunch. Very civilized. Another activity was a guided tour of an historic cemetery where people actually leave dozens of golf balls on the grave of Bobby Jones and Margaret Mitchell impersonators, standing beside her headstone, sign copies of Gone With the Wind. You get the drift.

February’s activity wasn’t my idea. No, this activity sprang from the fevered brain of the current wife, the one who has clearly been spending too much time around slightly shady circus performers. When this activity was first proposed, I was speechless, a condition that could qualify as behavior outside my norm. I was resistant at first but after 24 hours of contemplation, I bought in.

The extra time gave me the opportunity to ruminate on why I liked the movie “The Piano” wherein Harvey Keitel played a Maori warrior, his face decorated appropriately. The rest of the movie was just horrid. I also pondered why I so preferred Mike Tyson later in his athletic and criminal career. It was, I determined, his sense of calm and inner peace communicated via his facial markings. Then, there is my fascination with both the NBA and the NFL where players astound by finding new places to squeeze in additional body markings honoring mothers, baby mamas, death, drugs, firearms, barbed wire, knives, wizards, zombies, Jesus, insects, fish, dragons and very cool Chinese calligraphy that roughly translates to “serene and delicious egg-rolls”.

That’s right, we got tattoos.

The first step was a consultation with Matt, the artist. We discussed vital issues such as pain, Hepatitis C and cost. These issues he brushed aside as non-issues. Only pantywaists, he assured us, would consider these things as downsides. Chastised, we moved on to the design selection.

I really, really wanted the death’s head with the tarantula crawling from one eye socket and a cobra from the other. Matt took my measure and instead suggested a dolphin leaping over a rainbow or perhaps a unicorn in pastels. After a lively back and forth in which I would suggested manly military themes to honor my service in the U.S. Army as a clerk-typist and he would respond with ideas for puppies or kittens, we finally agreed on a more gender neutral design. Neither of us was completely happy but such is the nature of compromise.

The current wife brought her own design which Matt immediately and enthusiastically approved. Go figure.

The next issue was tattoo location. For a person of my vintage, there are certain areas of the skin (the body’s largest organ, in spite of what you might have heard about Wilt Chamberlain) that do not call out for permanent marking. These areas are more likely to suffer the indignities of gravity and thus, over time, change the entire look of the art. Better, for instance, that women not place that lovely butterfly directly to the front of the breast lest, in later years, it comes to resemble a condor. Men, in their youth, must be careful of tattoos placed directly on their abs. Over subsequent years of drinking beer, the art can morph into some bloated and hideous parody of the original figure, much like the man himself.

I carefully considered my locational options, which I discovered were damned narrow, and chose an appropriate spot. Here, I don’t want to reveal too much to those who don’t already know, thus leaving me a clown of quasi-mystery. Suffice to say, with my long underwear on, the lucky viewer would not know that lurking beneath was art.

Finally, one must submit to the electronic needle, an only slightly more sophisticated implement of torture than a glowing medieval branding iron (which also leaves a permanent mark in 3-D). Matt, did a lot of pleasant humming as he toiled over my tattoo. I found his perky demeanor somewhat annoying as I bit down on the leather strap he offered as an optional pain remedy. Just about the time I was willing to reveal classified national security secrets, he was finished. It was a close call.

I noticed that while the current wife was under the needle,  she and Matt carried on a perfectly normal conversation about current events. Apparently, she has a higher tolerance for pain than moi. This is why women have the babies. If it were up to men to birth babies, the human race would have fizzled out long ago.

We left the artist’s studio, which is nestled between a Vietnamese nail salon and a Korean pawn shop, with instructions about care and maintenance during the first few days of healing. Yes, “healing” because what had just occurred was the intentional infliction of an attractive wound.

We truly suffer for our indelible, permanent, you’ll-have-it-forever body art. In an ironic reversal, the artist does not suffer.


Observoid of the Day: Setting a good example for grandchildren means getting a tattoo only when you have passed 60.






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5 Responses to Marked for What Remains of Life

  1. DickRutschman says:

    Gee Cuz, What and where is your “artwork”? I also had the post mid-life desire for “ink” and decided on a very private location. You remember “Lil’ Toot” the train (engine and tender) that would always say: “I think I can, I think I can”? Well thats what I chose. I had a few shots and had it done in such a way that would (under erotic titalitation), become a full size freight train. As the conversation between myself and a prospective date (while between wives), I would offer to let her blow the whistle. Worked out pretty well for me. Just sayin’

  2. steve haymes says:

    Scary stuff.

  3. Mira says:

    Thank you for making me laugh with this blog! I am still in shock over the tattoos but they turned out looking nice.

  4. dwaggoner says:

    Well. We over at have been giving an extreme thinkover to your latest expedition into the surreal. Not that silly shoes did not already fully qualify you in that regard. Living in hospital land, as I do, I have seen far too many people who have gone under the needle express shock and dismay–shock and dismay, I tell you!–at what happened to their dermatological masterpiece when the surgeon’s knife had do its work to save their heretofore blissful existence and utter denial (Oh, that can never happen to me…uh…can it?). The only defense you have to preserve what hath been wrought is to roll yourself like a Persian rug into multiple layers of bubblewrap and never again leave the house. Modesty prevents me from making explicit suggestions about how the 13th Clown could deal with certain unavoidable biological urges half a day later; perhaps a call to Sen. Rand Paul could help you come up with a solution.

    As for me, I prefer to define a tattoo as a large gathering of lads and lassies in kilts with bagpipes and drums.

  5. John B., M.D. (David's friend) says:

    Good stuff.

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