02.14.2003 - 5:09 p.m.
Didn't I tell you I had a tattoo?
I didn't? Well, I do. Technically, I have four.
My favorite tattoo:
The tattoo I absolutely love and have never regretted one day
of my life is the tribally type band that encircles my upper
left arm. I got it when I was 18, so ye gods, that makes it damn
near 11 years old. I went to a tattoo place with a friend of
mine who I can no longer recall with any clarity whatsoever.
Her name? Blank. What kind of tattoo she got? 404: File Not Found.
However, I do remember the experience of deciding upon and then
getting my own tattoo perfectly.
I had leafed through a bunch
of magazines and found an armband I fell in love with. The tattoo
artist, a recent graduate from Reed college with a fine arts
degree, re-created the band with her own original touch - she
claimed she refused to do any copied artwork, or cartoon characters,
etc. I remember she put the design on a strip of paper coated
with men's deodorant, then stuck it to my arm, which somehow
transferred the ink. I had the whole band done in two sessions
that lasted a few hours each. Blackwork is evil, the needle has
to go over and over and over the same spot until your
skin is shrieking and begging for mercy. When the needle is going,
it releases a fine spray of ink that makes it hard to see what
you're tracing - she called it "tattooing with The Force".
She played music the whole time, it was the first time I heard
The Breeders. The only tattoo she had was of a small pear on
her hip. Her favorite tattoo that she had done was of a children's
drawing; a smiling family, a yellow sun. I remember seeing a
guy come in whose leg was tattooed so that it looked as though
the flesh was peeled back to expose metal pistons, which I thought
was so fucking cool.
My second favorite tattoo:
Around the time I was 21, there was a local tattoo artist who
asked me, a Kinko's drone at the time, to occasionally make color
prints of his various designs. As payment for the favor he offered
me a free tattoo, which I accepted. It took me a long time to
figure out what design I wanted. I finally stumbled on a postcard
with a gorgeous dragonfly on it, and that's what I brought into
his shop. In the first session he tattooed the black outline
of the dragonfly, and I was very happy with the results. During
the second session he put in the color, and I was so disappointed.
I cried all the way home, thinking I had ruined what could have
been a beautiful tattoo. But once the brightness of the color
faded, I liked it better. These days, since it's right below
my neck on my back, I rarely see it, and rarely think about it.
I'm glad it's there, though. I've picked up various dragonfly-themed
things since, so it feels like part of a collection.
The fugly tattoo:
I have the world's most corny and downright ugly tattoo. I'll
tell you how it got there before I tell you what it is. Back
when Yours Truly was striving to be the hippest vampire in all
of Corvallis, Oregon - back when Manic Panic hair dye stained
every single one of my pillowcases - back when "Cuz It's
Hot" by the Thrill Kill Kult was my favorite song to listen
to while blasted out of my gourd - back when...oh fuck it, suffice
to say it was several years ago. There was this guy, named Raven,
who had a homeade tattoo needle. I think the thing was rigged
to an electric toothbrush or some shit. Anyway, it was many the
local goth that allowed their skin to be permanently inked by
Raven's wobbly needle. I wonder how many are now facing thirty,
wishing they had never gotten that bat/skull/radiation symbol.
Mine? It's a rose. On my chest,
where my heart would be on my right side. It's stretched with
time, too, so not only is it a crappy home-grown cheeseball of
a tattoo, but now it looks a lot more like a tulip.
I could get rid of it, I suppose,
but I hardly notice it. My clothes cover it. When I see it in
the mirror I don't even think about it - it's been there for
so long that like it or not, it's a part of me.
But I'm not showing you a picture
of it, goddamn it.
The almost non-existent
When I was in high school, I used to skip class all the time.
As punishment, I would get served with Saturday school, a weekend
detention a la The Breakfast Club. Except without the, you know,
shenanigans and all.
As I remember, you couldn't
talk or anything, you just had to sit there. And at some point,
there began a trend of using a needle dipped in india ink to
give yourself your very own tattoo. What a fucking fabulous
idea, no? Lack artistic talent? Filled with teenage angst and
pissed at the world? Hey, why not etch something into your body
that NEVER GOES AWAY.
I gave myself something that
ended up looking like a dagger, sort of, on the pad of flesh
between my thumb and forefinger on my left hand. And there it
stayed, through the years. It faded a lot, but was still very
visible and served as an increasingly humiliating conversation
piece - from a boss's curious comment to the palpable disapproval
of JB's parents.
Finally, about 3 years ago,
I went in for laser treatment to have it removed. They told me
it would take about 5 sessions. They also told me that the laser
would feel much like having a rubber band snapped against my
hand. They were right about the second thing, but not really
the first - I only had one treatment and it's faded so much it's
almost invisible. If I look very hard, I can see the faint tracings
of what it used to be, and there's one solitary dot that resisted
the laser, but all in all it's practically gone.
So I have two I regret, and
two I don't. Pretty good odds, really, for a person who tends
to change their opinions more often than their bedsheets.
comments so far.
I have moved. - 1.03.2005
Obviously, a work in progress. - 12.27.2004
Happy holidays! - 12.24.2004
Listen, I am not a complete dick, it's not like I want Joe to die alone surrounded by cats or something. - 12.23.2004
Plus I am convinced my butt is extra big when it's upside down. - 12.22.2004