I was in my early twenties and getting my ya-yas out at a rapid clip. For the most part - despite the alcohol, the strippers, the gunfire - I came away unscarred and unburdened with anything but a knapsack of stories and a handful of tattoos.
Like my interest in a septum ring (which I got at 21 and still gleefully wear, lo, these 14 years later), I'd wanted body art since I first knew it existed. As a kid, what did I associate tattoos with? Pirates. Strong men. Artists. Bikers. Freedom. As I got out of high school and actually started making friends, I fell in with the heavily decorated crowd. And so, no surprise, when I had the cash I got the ink. Most of which I still love today. And yet...
And yet, being the mid 90s and me being a bit of a fool, I got kanji on my forearms. Not big pieces, mind you, just one per arm. My only non-custom tattoos, and the only ones that show when I have my regular clothes and long pants on. In other words, what should have been my show pieces have been outdated, clichéd, plain, black crap.
For years - at least a decade - I've talked about getting them covered. Took a while to figure out what would hide them and still look good. Someone suggested old school roses, but that ain't my style. I briefly considered Scottish clan badges, but that seemed too... specific? I guess is the word I'm looking for here. Finally, it struck me. What tool do I love, collect, and use more than any other? Typewriters.
This year, mama got me a gift certificate to Sistine Skin for Christmas. So I put that together with a few bucks of my own and went and saw my friend Fronkie and she did me up right. Five hours in the chair, five different shades of grey and black, and one of those late 90s worth-nothing tats is gone, Daddy, gone. I walked out of that little wood frame house where she runs her business happy and hopped up on endorphins. That picture up there doesn't do it justice, by the way - it's fresh, shaved, and puffy. But I love it and it looks amazing.
All of a sudden, I'm one of the obviously tattooed. And it feels great. Remember folks, nothing else you can buy with be will you forever. Consider your ink well, pick your artist carefully, but if you want it in your heart, get it on your skin.
Thank you, Fronkie. Thank you, Mama.