Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A thought on tattoos...

Throughout my life, certainly during my time in the Navy and by attending various motorcycling events, I have seen countless hundreds of tattoos. Some good work, some bad work. Tattoos are a very personal thing. I myself don't have any, although for a time I used to draw the odd tattoo design for my messmates onboard. They'd have them done up by Jerry Swallow. He was quite popular with the matelots back in the day and had a tattoo parlor on Barrington Street in Halifax. I can see or understand why a person would choose to have something etched indelibly into their skin. I think for your very first piece, it would have to be something that you're incredibly passionate about, or something that would mark a major milestone in your life, a defining moment... I guess that so far, I have just never found something that I would want to have etched on me forever. Life is a series of changes. Our pursuits, passions, dreams, goals... all these change over time. For many people, after your first tat it seems that the criteria for what is acceptable, expands to encompass just about everything.

Having someone's name inked on your body, unless they're family, is usually a bad idea. We all know how relationships can go... I have seen some pretty outrageous things tattooed on people's bodies, for a multitude of reasons. What they choose to have inked, as well as the reason why, is totally their business. I have often thought about getting my first ink, once I've completed my projected trip through the Blue Ridge Parkway/Tail of the Dragon and the Cherohala Skyway. Why? It is a lifelong goal of mine. It sounds so simple, doesn't it? Yet the completion on this journey will be a major accomplishment in my riding career. It would be for me, a badge of honour. Oddly enough, I never got inked in Daytona, after riding down there solo from Dartmouth, NS in September of 1996. But that's another story... I am largely defined by the years I spent in the Navy, yet my forearms and biceps are conspicuously lacking the classical 'heart, ship and anchor' of a sailor... Go figure. I never saw one nice enough to wear on my body.

I have never looked at someone with tats in a bad way, regardless of the work they have had done. There are some who seem to take as a personal affront, the artwork adorning another person's body. If they were being dragged against their will to have the same done to their bodies, I could see a reason for such remonstrations. Otherwise, who cares...? To them, I can only say what many people with tats will tell you:

"The only difference between people with tattoos and those without, is that people with tattoos don't care if you don't have any".

Would that we were all so well adjusted.

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