Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tattooing Me

Custom Tattoo design by Denise A. Wells
So, I had to get my annual ppd (tuberculin skin test) this afternoon. You know how that goes, you get a little subcutaneous (beneath the skin) injection of serum and 48-72 hours later have it "read." Reading simply means looking for a reaction that indicates a positive result and a little bruise from the injection itself doesn't count.

Anyway, despite my well-known, long-standing, needle-phobia, I stuck my arm out, gritted my teeth, and looked away. It didn't matter that I knew from previous experience this particular nurse is gifted at giving painless injections. Come at me with a needle and I'm wondering where's the fire exit.

All of this is to say, while it's never been a serious consideration, I am definitely not getting a tattoo. If they were done with magic marker, that might be one thing, but they're not. The whole idea of being stabbed over and over, even if it's only a pin-prick, is almost enough to make me break into a cold sweat. Besides that, there's the question of what to tattoo and where.

Where is simple: nowhere -- keep that needle away from me! What to tattoo is more complicated. I didn't serve in the Navy, so the traditional anchor is out. I love my mother, but a heart wreathed with the name "Mom," is kind of limiting. You see, I also love my dad and a number of relatives; there are only so many names you can put on a tattoo before it ceases to be art and starts looking like a population explosion.

I could go the route of animals, I suppose, but a dog neglects my cat, horses neglect both, and on top of that, I don't have a horse. That brings me to the biggest problem, namely, I don't know what I'd like to say with a tattoo that I'd be content saying the rest of my life. I try not to wear my faith or politics on my sleeve, so to speak, and placing them where they can't be seen doesn't make sense because then I'd be the only one to see them, and since I know what they are, why would I need reminding?

What about decoration? Well, here's the thing. Body art implies to me that one has a body that is conducive to showing off art. Mine isn't. Not that it's a bad body, but decorating it would be like hanging a Picasso in a barn -- and I don't mean one that's been transformed into a gallery, either. Some things just aren't done, and on a scale of one to ten, tattooing me is somewhere close to number one. And did I mention I have this thing about needles, by the way?

(Creative Commons image by Denise A. Wells via Flickr)

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