Monday, July 21, 2008

My New Tattoo

When we moved to NY there were many cultural changes we had to get used to. I had to figure out what in the world a Regents test was. I had to relearn how to say the word "Colonie", with the emphasis on the last syllable. And we had to get used to the fact that everyone, and I mean everyone, in the state of NY, has a tattoo.

Growing up in the Midwest, I knew exactly zero people who had been inked. When we lived in Utah, in the land of conservative vanilla, tattoos were reserved for convicts. We had friends visit recently from MO and as their eight year old told a story about a scary guy he had seen on a recent float trip, he added, with his eyes wide with fright, "you know.... he must have been a bad guy...he had tattoos and everything!"

I didn't say a word, just hoped that my little friend didn't go to our local Wal-Mart to stock up on supplies. He might have been the only person in line without a tattoo.

I love asking people what their tattoos mean. You don't generally write on your body for life without the words or picture having important meaning. You can find out a lot about a person by reading their body art.

I don't have any (yet) and don't have plans to acquire any, any time soon. I have told my kids that, in this more liberal culture, they are still not allowed to make that decision until they are at least eighteen. It is so permanent and not a decision to be trusted with the young.

But this weekend I got the closest thing I may get to a tattoo. I had every member of the Bacon Brothers Band sign my leg. I have pondered the idea of drawing a tattoo on my leg for several years. It seems like the perfect 'practice tattoo'. I will get a new leg in a few years so if my interests or maturity level changes I am free to start over.

And I really love this band. I love their music but I also love their people. I enjoy many musical artists - Jack Johnson, Tristan Prettyman, Colleen Baily Rae, John Mayer, Marc Anthony, Kenny Chesney, Rob Thomas, Sheryl ipod is a mix. But I don't know any of them personally.

Through my friend Paul, I have come to know the band just a little bit. And I really like who they are. They plug away at their craft because they love it. It is not making them millions and not buying them expensive toys. But it is bringing them joy. And it makes seeing them play in person a joy to watch. A bunch of guys who love what they do.

So I took the plunge and got myself inked. It makes me feel young, to be sporting some new body art. And I love carrying 'the guys' around with me as I glide through my day. The memories of the night I got my new tattoo make me smile so I have a feeling that just glancing down at my leg on a bad day may help bring back a smile or two.

It is my first ever tattoo. My daughter beat me to the belly button ring (none of those in my future...) but I beat her to the tattoo. At least the beginner kind. And it's enough for me.

Thanks guys. I love my new body art. I'm glad you weren't creeped out when I asked the favor.

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