To Each His Own
ONE OF HUMANITY’S OLDEST RITUALS, aside from putting their names on the hedge clippers and putting the trash out to the curb, has been tattooing. Anthropologists have uncovered mummified remains around the world bearing crude tattoos.
How this practice began is a mystery, but I think the reasons then are the same as the reasons today – to frag off your old man and to be different just like all of your friends.
The tattoos from ancient days were simple markings of unknown meaning. It meant something then, but time and cheap beer have obscured the original purpose. Again, much like today.
Personally, I have chosen to not join in the current fashion of getting tattooed. At my age I don’t want to have anything that might cover up any stray melanomas.
Other than that I have nothing against tattoos as long as I’m not asked to either pay for its application or eventual removal. It just doesn’t appeal to me, but I know many perfectly nice people who sport “Tats” both seen and unseen. I also know a number of people without tattoos who aren’t worth the effort to blow them up.
When I was growing up, not long after the fall of the dinosaurs and the Cleveland Browns, the only people who had tattoos were either sailors or convicts. Not so today. Now there are corporate executives with tattoos as well as the ever present sailors and convicts. While they are now more acceptable in the business world walking in for an interview with a face covered with ancient Mayan Warrior markings isn’t going to work out. Having facial tattoos still broadcasts the message, “I reject your world before you can reject mine.”
I once heard tattoos described as, “The permanent reminder of a temporary idea.” In most cases that is true, but tattoo removal is becoming a growth industry. As people age they might notice that tattoo eagle is starting to look more like a lumpy chicken.
The other day, as I sat in my pew at St. Arbucks sipping my coffee, a young woman walked by who had a tattoo on her leg above her ankle”. It was a series of three Chinese symbols. I’m sure that she was told that they stood for something “Love, Truth, and Beauty.” They probably do, but how does she know for sure? Her three symbols could just as easily say, “No Deliveries on Tuesdays,” or “Put this on her ankle.”
It’s just a thought.
I’ve always been a bit leery of tattoos and I think that it goes back to my youth when, in the small town where I grew up, I came to know several people who had survived the Nazi death camps of World War Two. When they came to my town they were known as “DPs” – “Displaced Persons” – people who had no homes to go back to, no countries, and no families to welcome them.
Seeing a series of numbers tattooed onto the arm of a tiny Polish woman or on a man with hair that was prematurely gray made the very idea of getting a tattoo anywhere on my body anything but fashionable.