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October 15, 2008

Free Tattoos?

Freetattoos_small Driving down the road I came across this truck parked in front of a tattoo parlor. I had to drive around the block to grab this shot. My son accuses me of being 'snap happy' but my feeling is that you should never leave the house without a camera. Seriously, I would have been furious if I missed this shot. The license plate is my favorite part.

I could not imagine why on earth they would offer free tattoos and piercing. Kind of freaky, right? My imagination ran wild visualizing the characters that worked there. My 16-year-old son was in the car and we speculated on why they would give these services away. My husband's theory is that once they get you 'hooked on the ink' you keep coming back for more. Perhaps. Or maybe they are laundering money and you find yourself walking into some sketchy situation and the next thing you know you are being shoved into a van with dark windows and whisked away to get roughed up and left for dead on some pier in Brooklyn.

Oh, sorry about that. I got carried away. Mind you, this place is in the middle of a relatively calm suburban NY neighborhood, not exactly a crime stoppers feature location.

It got me to thinking about tattoos and how differently they are viewed now compared to when I was growing up. As a teen the only people I knew who got them were fringe kids and greasers. Adults? Mostly blue color workers. It was barely on our radar.

Oh, accept for one guy I knew who had a dove with an olive wreath done on his hand between his thumb and forefinger. Everyone loves a pacifist. Well, maybe not everyone. This was certainly not an asset when he went looking for a job in the early '80s. (I wonder if he still has it).

Remember the Larry David Show when they told him his mother could not be buried in a Jewish cemetery because she had a tattoo? I believe this is not true but it was a myth we all subscribed to, probably perpetuated by our parents.

Now tats are thoroughly mainstream. An entire generation wears them proudly. In all sorts of locations. At first the rule was only get a tattoo in a location that is not visible in a work environment. Now it seems there are no rules, certainly in many industries. Of course the more conservative professions must still frown upon them. But for the most part the stigma of tattoos has disappeared.

This summer I met a guy on the beach with the Serenity Prayer tattooed on his side (ouch). I asked him if it was painful. What I really meant was if what led him to feel the need to do it was painful. I think he got it.

I think they are a kind of cool form of personal expression. If I were not such a chicken and prone to weird health mishaps, I would probably consider one if I were younger.

Although, my son and I did see an old guy on the beach with a sagging chest full of tattoos (oooo, NOT pretty) and I am pretty sure that cured us both from ever considering it.

At least I hope it did!

Quick update on tattoo news. Just read this on Boing Boing about a large tattoo portrait of Stephen Hawking on the right leg of Brighton tattoo artist Jack Newton. It has already one two trophies at conventions. It is quite impressive.

Original 50-something Moms Blog post. Posted by Amy Zimmerman. Amy also blogs at i could cry but i dont have time  and leaving the zip code


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