Monday, January 08, 2007


Maybe I was frightened by Rod Steiger’s portrayal of Carl in the Illustrated Man who stressed in a Cajun accent that they were not tattoos but rather “Skin Illustrations.” When one looked at the illustrations they were taken on a horrific journey of a story that the illustration was telling.

With that preamble out of the way, I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t like tattoos very much. Sorry if you’re reading this, Lee, I know you and many others love them, but…

Maybe I’d get some if they could use invisible ink and the only way to see them was to pour lemon juice over them; that being the way all kids know of how to read invisible ink. Maybe a toaster was part of the process as well…

Other than self mutilation aspect of it all; the thing I really dislike is that my father was of the generation that served in WWII and all of his friends came back with all these tattoos that looked sharp and colorful, but by the time I was five in 1960 these tattoos no longer looked bright and sharp. They looked like dark cancerous blemishes. All the colors melded into an ameba-like shape. Letters became unintelligible, images became a free-form aberration and add to that the sagging of the skin and loss of the youthful muscle tone made the whole thing look really bad.

Though I have had people explain to me that it is art, and I agree it is, I've seen some amazing work, but I'm the kind of person that can't even stand having paint or wood stain on my hands. I will scrub until my skin is raw. I couldn't imagine having a tatt that I couldn't scrub off, ever.

I'm glad I never got one when I was younger, because I don't think I still hold onto anything that I believed back then. All the people in my life have changed, my ideas have changed and I as a person have changed.

So I’ve never bought into the whole tattoo thing, and I have enough physical faults without adding to them.


Blogger Donna said...

all tatts look ugly to me. I don't dislike people for having them, I just don't understand why they want permanent markings on their bodies. Especially people who put them on their ankles when they have fat, ugly ankles. Why draw attention to a part of the body that looks horrible already?

Oh well, it's a free country.

5:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One or two small tats are not a bad thing...on other people. I'm not brave enough to get one myself though.

I'm wondering about all the piercing that young people are doing today. By the time they have kids of their own it will be so uncool to have a pierced lip/eyebrow/belly button etc. And by the time everyone is a grandparent? Ha, what goes around comes around.

7:26 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

I have personally spoken with and seen tha tattoos of concentration camp survivors. I believe in the Jewish faith tattoos are forbidden, hence tattooing a jew was a very nasty thing to do. I am glad that the new tatts are colorful, artful and experssive, but somewhere in my old brain I still hold the feeling that it is basically bad.

7:56 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

Never even considered getting a tattoo when young. And, hey, as we age we're all going to be "blessed" with "tatts." They're called old age spots.

9:15 AM  
Anonymous Moosehead said...

Hear about the Canadian who had what looked like SWAN tatooed on his ... how do I say this...oh yeah - dick. The girl he was about to bed asked him about it and he replied that he wanted a souvenir of where he came from. After a few minutes of foreplay and on a good day, it spelled Saskatchewan.

Not too surprised about the Jewish faith forbidding tattos - don't they have something like 613 commandments? Some no brainers though like not to have sex with your wife's sister - not too sure about the one concerning breaking the neck of the calf by the river valley following an unsolved murder.

9:44 AM  
Blogger Boo7 said...

OMG!! I think I have post-traumatic stress from that picture Guy.....eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeks!!

3:09 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

See that Beth and Moosehead, I pull out all the stops and I've already traumatized a Canadian, and you want me to stop sweetening my posts for my neighbors up North, eh?

Hold on Boo, your fellow Canadians want me to toughen you up a bit. (if you don't understand this, read what Beth and Moosehead had to say yesterday).

4:16 PM  
Blogger Mom of Three said...

Holy crow, that guy looks like he fell face-first into a tackle box!

Hubby has three tattoos. He got them in the Marines. I love the one of Calvin and Hobbes on his calf. It's a large piece, and when he flexes his muscle, Calvin and Hobbes dance.

He totally regrets getting them. He hardly even wears shorts because he's embarrassed about them. The one on his shoulder has an eagle with a dogtag in its mouth with hubby's name on it. That's so if his head got blown off in battle, they could identify him.

10:23 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Calvin and Hobbs, eh. That may now be considered antique. He should get it on the Antique Road Show ; )
How was he to know how short lived that strip would be. I'm sure there are some Moon Mullins, Andy Cap and Gasoline Alley tatts out there on some of the old timers. Wasn't Homer Simpson going to get one that said, "Where's the Beef?"

7:41 AM  
Blogger Lee said...

I think it's important to take all the things you mentioned into consideration and I know there are and always will be people that regret their tattoos and body mods after the fact, I am particularly disturbed by the recent fad of using less permanent ink in case you decide to remove it later - if you think you might, then don't do it in the first place...

that said, I'm pretty much a die-hard and even think there is beauty in the vintage pieces like your dad had and what the aging process does to ink in the skin...

1:27 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Maybe, Lee, but maybe a temporary ink that last only a short while will help people decide if they do want to make a life-long committment to an image.

My father never had a tatt, but many of his friends did. That's probably why I never wanted one either.

Are there new inks that will not fade as quickly as the vintage ones did?

2:19 PM  

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