Tattoo You

March 26, 2008 at 3:50 PM | Posted in Journal | 2 Comments
  I’ve only had a passing interest in tattoos.  I think some are overdone and way to much, but some look very cool.  And on the right naked chick, some are very hot.
  My ex, her older daughter, and our son went out sometime after our break up about two years ago and they all got tattoos.  It was their little bonding outing, or whatever.  I’m sure they learned and grew and had their little Lifetime channel moment of togetherness and discovery and resolve, their happy ending.  Blah Blah Blah.
  Personally, I’ve never really wanted one, and much of that has to do with indecision over what I would get.  I mean, I’m going to be stuck with it.  It wasn’t until someone actually put the question to me that I thought about what I would get.  Then, when I realized it, I decided that I should get it.  But….I wanted to think about it for a while.  A few months.
  A few months later, and I hadn’t changed my mind.  I decided to go with it.  Detroit’s son (and two of his friends) were coming to stay with us for a week for Spring Break.  Uh, yay?  The boy had got a tat over Christmas when he was here, and wanted another.  I fear when people start to get alot of them–you don’t want to end up a tattooed freak.  Be a different kind of freak, in case you change your mind. 
  But he was the one who started it, just saying to me, "You should get one."  Funny, it made sense at the time.  "No one’s ever put it that way before."  The person who did his first tat I was going to call for this session.  My second cousin Greg.  We call him Little Greg, because his dad is Greg–but little Greg is a big, big boy.  We do have some nicknames in our family…He’s little Greg.  I’m known as Bubba by some.  I have cousin named Skinny.  My mom’s name was Margie but EVERYONE called her Judy (I didn’t know that.  I thought it was something that Dad did.  I referred to her Margie at a funeral on her side, and they didn’t know who I was talking about.  Then I said, "Judy," and they went, "Oooohhh" in understanding unison.)  Greg’s dad was Clarence, and everyone called him Junior.
  And my dad?  My dad was Bud.  To the family, Uncle Buddy and Aunt Judy.  My mom passed away in Feb of 04, and the one year anniversary of my dad’s passing was Easter.  As that date approached, it codified my desire to approach this undertaking. 
  Lil Greg is a pretty damn good tattoo artist.  There are alot of artists in our family, alot of people doing different creative things.  I honestly never thought it would come from his end–but we have it all over.  He’s a good guy  He looks like a rough neck, a tough guy, but he’s a pretty sensitive, creative guy.  I called him up, we made arrangements, and we had a date set.
  As for me, I finalized my idea about what I wanted.  Because of all the tats I could get, the one I decided I wanted was one that my dad had, to carry on the legacy.  He had a couple–and there’s one I don’t remember, actually.  He had to small ones, one on each forearm.  One said "Buddy" and the other said "Judy."  He had one I don’t remember–and now that bugs me–but the one I do remember was this:  A little cartoon devil character, with these words:  "BORN TO RAISE HELL."
  However, the picture I had of my dad’s tat was not a good one.  It was taken in the hospital the day he died–after he died, in fact–on my cell phone.  It was going to be difficult to duplicate the little devil character exactly.
  So my thought was…why does it have to be exact?  The intention is to reflect the same spirit of the message.  My thoughts turned as I searched for images.  I began to think of it more as a family crest than a tattoo, an idea I think my dad would have approved of.  In that sense, the design changes slightly but is always recognizable as the crest.
  I ended up selecting about a dozen pictures, and showed them to a few people, narrowing them down.  The direction the consensus was going took a surprising turn.  I really like the image I chose, and everyone I asked prior liked that selection as well.
  So, it’s not an exact duplicate of my dad’s tattoo.  It’s a tribute, but reflects some individuality and next generation newness.  This is not my father’s Oldsmobile.

  Li’l Greg comes over to the house to do the tattoos.  He doesn’t have a studio, but would like to get with one.  He comes to people’s houses and does it, and has all of his equipment in a rolling suitcase.  I never knew much about the process yesterday.  I show him the image and we discuss it.  I have it printed in black and white, but I show him the color version on the computer.
  We discussed it, I explained the vision, and he added to the drawing.  Then he traced over it onto carbon paper, to make a stencil.  I had shaved my upper arm prior to this, and he placed the stencil on my oiled arm.  It wasn’t an exact copy of the drawing, just the outline and some major lines to get it placed right.  Then he began.
  The sensation has been described several ways.  "It’s like a sunburn–" or, "A slight stinging sensation–"  Whatever.  Let me tell you, it hurt like a son of a bitch.  It felt exactly like he was taking a small Exacto knife and carving intricately into my arm.  First he did the outline, then some detail work, then he colored it in.  Afterwards it was like a sunburn;  it was sensitive to the touch and I had to put ointment on it.
  But I feel a real sense of satisfaction.  I feel like…like I’m carrying on a family legacy of sorts.  When I talk with Greg, and Li’l Greg, and my cousin Joe…We are kind of the male heads of the family, of this generation.  We are all very different from each other–really different.  But we have a bond, and a desire to protect and watch over the family–just as our fathers and grandfathers did.  So…it’s the family crest.



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  1. nice…
    *~* :o) a smile is a universal welcome… :o) *~*

  2. I feel the same as you regarding tatoos…don\’t really want one but they are kool to look at sometimes.  I like the one you got!

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