I love a kid with a tattoo. Everywhere I see young darlings in fully inked sleeves hanging out in malls or at local stop and robs.
I wonder how their designs will play out in the coming years. Skull and bones on a wrist that hands out mini-muffins to kids at a Montessori class. Someday at a corporate presentation, will a sleeve of Samurai swords vie for attention with a laser pointer?
That’s what I adore about kids – their sense of immortal youth. They have no idea one’s beam may broaden leaving that butt rose in over-bloom someday.
I’m not against tattoos. I only suggest they be inked with thought, which always reminds me of my daughter’s high school friend, John.
In 1981 he was a big lump of a lad who’d hang out at our home. One day I sat at the kitchen table studying his multiple arm designs. As a mom, I had a license to be nosy.
I gave John an affectionate poke. “The dragon on your forearm? Nice touch. So what does your mommy say about all this, little boy?”
At 6’2″ the sixteen-year-old shrugged. “She never says anything. I guess she thinks they’re cool.”
Feeling existentialist, I asked, “But, John, what does it all mean?”
He surprised me with an anthropological intro.
“You know, the tattoo is an ancient art form. It was considered by many indigenous people as a way of expressing sacred symbology.”
Wow. Multi-syllabic words, I was impressed.
I tapped his upper arm. “So what’s the sacred significance of your 8-Ball?”
“It was the only design large enough to erase my old girlfriend’s name.”
John then confided the mindset of the multiply tattooed, “You know, it’s like a blank canvass. Once you start, it’s like you can’t stop.”
The dear child needed a “whoa-buddy.”
I said, “Whoa, buddy! Return to symbolic significance. Why don’t just you wait and have a tattoo done once every ten years? Make the design symbolize what the decade meant to you.’” (Somebody needed to slow this kid down.)
Now it was John’s turn to be impressed. “Hella-cool idea!” (This was 1981).
We high fived each other and I added, “Why riddle your body with meaningless signs? Get one that really tells a story, Johnny!”
I’ve since lost touch with the big goof, but I wonder if something esoteric ever followed his 8-Ball.
I have no tattoos, but I try to imagine a fitting symbol for myself, perhaps a gryphon, or the planet Saturn, or maybe Georgia O’Keefe’s bright red poppy. The truth is there isn’t one piece of jewelry I’d wear every day for the rest of my life, so why would permanent ink be any different?
But I am fascinated by the tattoos of others. So tell me, what is the sacred significance of your Yosemite Sam?