Over the weekend, I binged on the Miami Ink marathon on TV. I was fascinated both by the talent of the artists, and by the many odd and wonderful reasons people get the tattoos they get. I don't have any tattoos. Until recently, I never even considered it. And I still probably don't seriously consider it. But maybe. I arrived just a tad too early to be in the generation of women who think tattooing is no big deal. It's a big deal to me. Although I don't know if my tattoo skepticism is due to my generation or to my temperament, my spirit, my A.D.D. Anything one enters into with the expectation of (relative) permanence is a big, HUGE deal to me. Marriage, mortgage, parenthood and the like. Getting my ears pierced at 13 was a big deal. How do I know I will always want this? is what I ask myself. As I inflicted episode after episode of Miami Ink on my family, LG asked her father and me if we had any tattoos. Both of us answered in the negative. Would we ever get one?
Me: Starting to think about it.
Jif: If Mama makes us watch this show much longer, I am going to get one . . .
LG: What would you get, Daddy?! Where would you put it?!
Jif: A stop sign. Right here (forehead).
One of the most-tattooed people that I've had the privilege to know well was a client. He was a young man who looked like, but wasn't, a skinhead. He "talked black," and walked with a very exaggerated swagger. Both arms were heavily tattooed. I did my best to resist judging him based on appearance, as he ambled into my office. As I got to know him, I discovered that he had one of the purest hearts I've encountered. What I thought was some kind of affected badass walk was actually the product of having had numerous cancerous tumors removed from his femur. The symbols, dates, etc., on his arms were in memory of his two babies who had died shortly after birth due to a rare chromosomal abnormality -- his genes and his wife's were very likely to result in this abnormality again, and they were pregnant again. So, he was the first person with whom I really "got" what tattooing is about for some people. Not an adornment, for some, but a way of telling their story. And I love when people tell their stories.
Recently, I've seriously considered "inking" myself to tell a story. I've mentioned here before how lymph nodes pop up and down like little bitty wack-a-moles. And I've thought that if I just "Sharpied" a circle around them when they pop up, I could show the docs exactly which ones are busy, and I can keep track of how often they emerge, etc. No?
My kid watched some Miami Ink with me over the weekend. Posterity may show that this was a bad idea. She's kind of into "ink" now. We've always done the rub-on tattoos, the face-painting and such. I'm not able to go out and do fun stuff with her like I used to, and will again soon, I hope. Thankfully, her Dad and our friends and family are good about that, so LG still has plenty of fun. On Sunday, a friend took her to a local street fair. She got "airbrushed" stencilled tattoos, including this one:
She is tremendously impressed with her own coolness right about now. She likes to pretend that this tattoo and the one on her arm (allegedly the Chinese symbols for "lucky") are real. She spent the other night with her grandparents, going out to dinner and breakfast with them, at which time she showed her tats to the waitress. Nana is something less than impressed with LG's coolness right about now. In fact, Nana is more like mortified that anyone would think her 10-year-old granddaughter is tattooed.
On Saturday, Jif and another Dad took LG's Girl Scout troop to the "Big Event," a GS Cookie pep rally of sorts. (Curiously, some of the girls couldn't go because it was Dads going instead of Moms. I find that sad and unfortunate.) The event featured all sorts of funstuff booths, including face-painting, done by older Scouts with varying degrees of skill.
True story: The "seasoned" face-painters had drawn up a design board, showing the selections that they could do for the girls, identified by number. LG chose #13, which was a stylized, winged, lightening bolt kinda thing. Turned out fine. Her friend, Roxie, wanted the same. Fly in the ointment: Between LG leaving the painting chair and Roxie occupying it, a new painter came on board. Roxie tells the new painter, "Give me #13, please."
Jif and the other Dad are standing by, but not paying too much attention. When Roxie comes over to show everyone, Jif says to her, "Oh, that's nice. Does that have some significance for you?"
"No, I just liked it when LG got it."
Hmmm. LG didn't get that. Jif tries again. "Is that your soccer jersey number?"
"What? I got a number thirteen..."
Jif gets it. "No, Roxie . . . you got THE number 13! You got a 1 and a 3!" Jif and the other Dad CRACK UP. Seriously, I know Moms would have laughed, but I think there would have been a little more sensitivity involved. Jif offered to help Roxie explain to the painter, and get a new one, but she declined. Poor girl walked around the rest of the day with a 13 on her face. At least it wasn't a tattoo.