An Illustrated Man (or Woman)

(re-run)

This morning I woke up and wanted to write about tattoos. I went to another music in the park last night and saw so many. It’s a generational thing – getting tattooed — which will permanently mark an era.

My generation had the long haired hippies in the 60’s. Now guys shave their heads.

My generation had pierced ears. Now this generation has pierced noses, tongues, eyebrows, etc. My generation had denim bell bottoms. This generation has the skinny jean.

My generation had polyester, and our clothes that never wrinkled. Sadly, polyester is back. I am a cotton girl myself.

Ray Bradbury wrote The Illustrated Man, a sci fi book in 1972 about the future. Was he the inspiration for today’s tattooed society? I look around and see athletes with tattoos, ex-military people with tattoos, mothers of small children with tattoos, and their spouses, too.

I remember how much it hurt to get my ears pierced. I can’t imagine how much a tattoo would hurt. I see guys with tats on their skulls. OUCH!

My niece had a little bit of her tattoo peeking out above her strapless wedding dress.  When I asked her about it, she admitted it was a flower. A chorus friend has a tattoo on her wrist. Another chorus friend has one on her calf.

I asked a guy I danced with one night if his tattoo was a tulip. A little bit of ink was showing above his wife beater shirt. No, it was a pit bull’s ear. I was a little bit afraid of him, with his inked dog and his shaved head.  Friends my age have a flower on their ankle or a tramp stamp on their lower back.  Lady Gaga has them, too, which looked funky with her evening gown as she sang duets with Tony Bennett.

I don’t plan on getting one. I’ve already had too many things infected — my finger, a big toe, my foot when I stepped on a nail as a kid. Why would I want someone sticking needles of ink into my skin?

I saw a fresh tattoo once on a friend’s tenant when it still had the saran wrap over it to keep it moist.  It was a large blue butterfly, eight inches across, on her upper back. OUCHHHHHH!!!! I could hardly look at it.  Also, what if she wanted to wear pink? Wouldn’t the big blue wings clash?

You see, I am a wimp and do not like pain. Yes, I gave birth to babies three times the natural way (no C-sections). That was enough pain for me. Plus when I was done I had a little person, not a raw inflamed section of my skin (although other parts of me were probably inflamed). I’ve already been bad to my skin, getting too much sun over the years, causing no end of skin damage. I’ve gotten 2nd degree burns on my face from too much sun at the equator. Now I wear a hat.

Tatted folks, more power to you. When I see what you have done, all I can think about is how much it had to have hurt.

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