I’m thinking about letting my daughter get a tattoo. I’ve told her she can get a tat that reads, “I pay all my own bills” or “I hate my father.” I told her we could get father/daughter tattoos: “You get whatever you want, and I’ll get a broken heart.”
Little girls are all about unicorns, rainbows, butterflies and pretty flowers. When those childhood icons start showing up in permanent ink, however, the innocence is gone. It’s a bit ironic, I think.
I don’t mind tattoos — on other people. I’ve seen some that are pretty cool and some that have deep meaning for the individual. I knew a woman once who lost two children in infancy. She had two teardrops tattooed on her ankle as a reminder. I think that’s touching. I’d probably do something like that. But as mere decoration, I can’t imagine what I’d like to have permanently stuck on me that I will still like 30 or 40 years from now.
I could have a cigar tattooed to my arm; then I’d never be without one. But if I’m going to pay $35 or $40 for a cigar, it’s going to be one (or five) that I can actually smoke. With my luck, I’d get dementia and try to light my arm on fire.
Asian tattoos are popular, but I’d be afraid of getting anything in a language I can’t read. I’d be especially afraid of getting anything in a language that the tattoo artist can’t read. You think you’re getting a message that reads “Hope, Peace and Love.” Maybe it actually says, “Die, capitalist pig.” You can’t trust automated translators on the Internet, either. “Princess” translated into Japanese might translate back into English as “Geisha.”
I guess I could leave instructions for the undertaker tattooed on my body: “Bury me in the family cemetery.” But what if I die in a horrible accident and the tattoo gets messed up? Maybe then it reads, “Burn me.” What if I have surgery and the doctor has to cut through the tattoo? A tattoo of a mean mountain lion might end up looking like a pussycat. That picture of your soul mate might look more like a cellmate.
I don’t know what Laura wants to have as a tattoo, nor where she wants to put it. I’m sure I don’t want to know. She’s 20, so I can’t really keep her from doing it, but she lives at home with me and Penny, so as long as I’m paying for the roof over her head, I still have some say-so.
Tonight, after a long and fruitless argument about tattoos, she stuck her head out on the back porch where I was relaxing and announced that she and her boyfriend were going to the mall to look at engagement rings. Suddenly, the tattoo idea didn’t seem so bad.
(c) Copyright 2012 by David Porter who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. And, no, I’m not thinking about letting Laura get a tattoo. If she does it, it will be over my objection. No offense to tattoo-wearers. I just think her appearance was not a mistake and doesn’t need improving.