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Tattoo, December 3rd, 2000 :: Ben Turner's Soapbox

 

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archived soapbox: December 3rd, 2000
"Tattoo" [permalink]
    keywords: tattoo, Chinese kanji, snake, Chinese astrology
    soapbox #: 270
    written: December 3rd, 2000
    words: 608

"Tattoo", an Essay

After weeks of delay because of other people, I finally got my first tattoo tonight.

See, what happened was I've had a desire to get a tattoo for a long time, so I mentioned it to one of my best buds and he told his office, and so a couple of the people who worked there said they wanted to get one too. So it was going to be this huge outing that would presumably help these people get up the courage to get their tattoos without chickening out.

Well, one of them chickened out, and the other said he didn't know which design he wanted yet. So I waited.

And waited.

And finally after going to Paris and NYC and still no finalization, I told my friend I was gonna go, so we went down to Deep Ellum where all the tattoo parlors are. We went to Taboo Tattoo, whose bumper sticker logo proclaims, "Life's a prick...then you get tattooed!" (huh huh) and I paid a small fortune to get a simple black tattoo of the Chinese character for "snake".

[ Taboo Tattoo ]

I've had the Chinese astrological "snake" description on my front page at numerous points over the years, and snakes are ubiquitous in the world of allegorical literature that I've read and studied. It interests me that such an evil symbol in Western literature (which naturally wasn't always perceived as evil, like, for example, by the Greeks) can be seen completely differently in the east. It is a baby dragon, the form of choice by temptation, the animal of the ouroboros, intertwined on the caduceus, a symbol of rebirth, etc. etc.

And when you get down to it, Chinese characters just look cool as tattoos. (like Marcus Camby's of the Knicks) Perhaps it's not the most unique tattoo in the world, although more unique than most, and I appreciate the symbolism of it more than most people, I would imagine.

Anyway, so my friends watched as I got the tattoo, which I decided to place above my right pectoral. They were too chicken to get tattoos, perhaps under the guise of thinking tattoos are not for normal people, although I think my bud was heavily contemplating the idea of getting one, after seeing the resultant product.

[snake tattoo] It didn't take long of course since it was simple. It was a very sharp, precise pain, the kind that your body can remember for a while after the tattoo pen is removed. It wasn't intolerable, although I wonder what it would be like getting a full back dragon tattoo or a forearm tattoo.

It didn't take long as I said, and we left shortly, letting the tattoo guy go back to eating the grub that the other employees there were eating. Sanitary!

I just have to keep it under bandage and lotion for 5-10 days and then it'll be all set. It doesn't hurt.

I think it turned out really well and it makes a nice addition to the sum of my parts. One more thing off the checklist of life. It looks good and I'm happy with it. And it reminds me that I have things to do and that I have the capability to do them if I just try. Instead of chickening out and ending up being regretful later on in life.


 
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