I Am An Unmarked Man

Posted by admin on February 24, 2011 in Randomalities |

I will soon be 53 years old. Outside of the marks Mother Nature and my own clumsiness have provided me with, my skin is still a virgin. You see, I do not have any tattoos.

My mother does. She got the rose on her forearm when she was in her 60s. I have dated, lived with and been married to women who have had tattoos. I have admired others who have beautiful ink on their bodies. Yet, I do not have any myself.

It’s not the thought of a bunch of needles being stuck in my arm, though I do profess to not being able to look at blood being harvested from my veins without feeling at least a bit faint. And it’s not that I don’t trust some biker-ish looking dude with tobacco stains on his bearded chin to do the work.

The reason goes much deeper than that. You see, as a writer there isn’t anything I have written to date that given time and money, I wouldn’t rewrite today. By its very nature, writing is an imperfect art. If it wasn’t, no writer in his right mind would let his work see the light of day. If it weren’t for editors who have to virtually rip the pages from our hands, the written word would be a scarce commodity.

That brings me to my quandary. To get ink would require me to accept the notion that I could find the perfect work of art that could exist for the rest of my born days on this canvas I call me. It could be a perfectly beautiful piece, but the restlessness of my mind would eventually question the decision, then the wisdom and finally the art itself.

I am reminded of an acquaintance of mine who had Opus tattooed on her ankle. If you don’t know Opus, he was the penguin from the cartoon strip Bloom County. She got it in college, a badge of honor and a right of passage to her. Then she became a teacher. And every morning she would have to place a bandage over Opus, not because she couldn’t have a tattoo, but because she tired of explaining to her bright eyed charges why she had a cartoon penguin on her ankle and who Opus was.

I have toyed with the idea over the years, but haunted by Robbie’s plight.

My first idea was to have one done on my butt. I’ve mentioned it before, but for any new readers I will do it briefly again. Since graduating from college, I have never had to prove I had a degree, except for when I applied for public relations jobs with colleges or school districts. So I thought it would be cool to have my degree tattooed on my butt so when they asked me to show my my B.A. I could just drop my pants.

That sounded like a lot of ass work. The degree from the University of Washington is very ornate. And even if they could get that gold color to turn out on the type, it would eventually turn greenish and diminish the honor I received. Yeah, like sticking it on my butt wouldn’t already do that.

So that was out.

I also thought it would be cool to get tattoos on all my joints. This would serve me well if I were in a horrific accident and mangled beyond recognition. They could simply look at the tattoos. Insert “Tab A” (upper arm) into “Slot A” (forearm). Any idiot could reassemble me on the slab in the morgue.

Too much work, I thought. But it would be good fodder for conversation in a bar.

It would be far less work to get small skull and crossbones around my waist. This thought came to mind when I learned that the Dixie Chicks had made a pact to have chicken feet tattooed on them whenever they had a career milestone.

Cool, I thought. I could do the same. It’d be like the fighter pilots in World War II who added a Nazi swastika to the side of their plane every time they shot an enemy down.

Unfortunately, my pirate life has had a lot of milestones. If I were to add them all around my waist within no time I would look from afar as if I were wearing a Karate black belt. Soon, it would look like a pair of boxer briefs.

Again, too much work.

My last idea was perhaps my best, but its execution would be, let’s say, very delicate.

This tattoo came to me in a dream in night. I dreamt that my penis was actually a lighthouse, complete with that black stripe that winds its way from the base to the light at the top. At the top, was a very small lighthouse keeper, looking off in the distance for a ship in the night. In the dream, it was a very big lighthouse (it is a dream after all) and a light was shining brightly from the top.

That would be a cool tattoo. Think of it as a beacon of hope, in more ways than one.

I know. As I said, I’m still thinking. Still considering. But will probably never get an answer.

Somewhere on the Treasure Coast making do with a Sharpie instead (and no I’m not striping the lighthouse),

— Robb

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