I’ve never understood the attraction of getting a tattoo and I thought by now the current tattooing craze would have died out, but it doesn’t seem to be losing its popularity. Ya, Ya, I know tattooing has been around since 3300 BC and we’ve got the mummified bodies of chieftains and slaves alike to prove it. Plus we’ve got the writings of Marco Polo as he bounced around Central Asia and China (1200s) and the tales of Captain James Cook’s trips to the South Pacific (1700s) to prove that tattooing is well entranced in many cultures around the world. And don’t even get me started on the sub-human Nazi guard who marked Jews for death during War II so their tattoos could be harvested for a scrapbook. It’s enough to say tattooing has a long and sorted history.
But tattooing, now, is more of a fashion statement than anything else and fashion is a fickle business with ebbs and tides that usually don’t span more than a decade. Time is up; go away tattoo parlors! Correction: tattoos are more than a fashion statement for many people who treat their bodies like canvases to commemorate things or make statements to the world which probably explains their current popularity and longevity. I like to think of tattoos as visual diaries for people who can’t write, but I don’t voice that opinion out loud because it has an air of snobbishness coming from someone who likes to put words on paper and who thinks perfect last sentences in epic novels are better than the inventions of whoopee pies and Silly Putty. By the way, never get those two mixed up during a middle-of-the-night eating binge.
A widowed acquaintance of mine (same age as me) got one of those commemorate tattoos recently. She took off her wedding rings and got a tattoo that encircles the place where the rings used to be. The design is meant to look like a wedding band. I just don’t get that. Why not keeping wear the real ring? Does a tattoo ring denote still feeling married in the heart but available in case some old dude in red suspenders wants to ask my friend out on a date for an early bird special? Or does it say: Ask me about my tattoo so I can tell you about my journey into widowhood? Could that tattoo mean she’s worried about going to a nursing home someday and having an aid steal her real wedding rings if she continued wearing them? I don’t know and I’m too chicken to ask.
What got me to thinking about tattoos today was making boiling eggs. I have been boiling eggs since I was thirteen and every single time that I do I have look at page 267 in my Better Homes and Garden Cook Book to see how long to boil the eggs before taking them off the stove and exchanging the hot water for cold. I can remember the 267 part but not the number 15. It’s one of those pesky little facts that my brain can never hold on to no matter how many times I try. If I was inclined to get a tattoo it would the number ‘15’ inside of an egg. Don’t tell anyone but the older I get the more practical purposes I can find for getting a tattoo---my street address in case I get lost or my dog’s name in case I start calling ‘Levi’ ‘Lassie’ and he doesn’t come. But you know what? Post-it notes filled with useful information stuck to my arm would serve the same purpose without the pain. Tattoos also change over time as skin loses its elasticity and you acquire surgical scars. With my luck an egg tattoo would get altered by a whistling doctor with a knife and it would read ‘5’ instead of ‘15’ and then I’d be wondering why all my boiled eggs are runny.
So here’s the deal. You can get all the tattoos you want but don’t ask me if I like your latest addition unless want me to turn into Dana Carvey’s Church Lady character and say in a super-sarcastic voice, “Well, isn’t that special.” The filter in the brain that censors what I say in public just doesn’t work as well as it used to and I will never, ever like tattoos. Plus I’m a widow and widows have been known to go for the jugular if someone says, “Hi” in the wrong tone of voice. ©