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Mama Kat has outdone herself this week. How I can I resist the opportunity to write about tattoos? (No, Dad, I’m not seriously considering another tattoo. Yes, I am aware of the hepatitis risk.)
4.) The world is going to come to an end unless you get a tattoo that covers your entire back. Describe the tattoo you’ll get.
I am trying to imagine a scenario in which the world’s fate rests upon an image covering my back. I keep picturing Will Smith and Ed Wood-style spaceships. Are we being attacked my aliens with a fetish for moms with ink? Is there a rogue nation with a nuke and a red button under the thumb of a leader who will back down only in the face of body art? And most importantly, does this tattoo have to incorporate my existing back tattoo or can I come up with a whole new theme?
The ink I already have comes from two very different periods in my life. My first tattoo I got as a freshman drama major in college and it’s the masks of comedy and tragedy on my ankle. I still love it, even nearly 20 years later. (Oh, holy f@ck, nearly 20 years? How did that happen?). The second tattoo was done in my late 20s and is on my lower back in the spot that would brand it a tramp stamp now but when I got it, I assure you, it was still kind of alternative and cool. It’s a crescent moon which reflected an interest I have in cycles of nature. Later, I added a vine underneath it, which is my sign in Celtic astrology. I love that one too but I often forget to take the time to look at it. And now you know I’m a drama geek, a new age geek, and I’m old. Fabulous. Oh and no, pictures will not be forthcoming. Really, c’mon, people. The vine/moon one is right above my butt! No one wants to see that.
Sometimes now I toy with the idea of getting an additional tattoo of my son’s name and birthdate but there’s no spot on my body that really begs for ink anymore. Cellulite and stretch marks are an adornment all their own, no further design required.
“Um, hello?” you’re saying now. “This is fascinating, really, but the tattoos you have are not going to save the world when Plan 9 From Outer Space goes into effect here! And no one wants to hear about your cellulite. Gross, lady.”
Jeez, you all get all snarky when faced with the end of the world.
At this point in my evolution, there are no images I can think of that tell my story. I suppose I could choose a large picture of C’s face, maybe with him opening his mouth to show me half-chewed Goldfish crackers. Or maybe one of my wedding day where my newly minted husband and I stood on the steps of the church freezing to death and laughing. But what really draws me (no pun intended) is words. And while it is tempting to think of a quote from Shakespeare to save the world, I don’t know that anyone but me could think it was funny to put “I am but mad north northwest, when the wind is southerly, I now a hawk from a handsaw” on my back. (That was Hamlet for people who weren’t drama dorks.)
No, instead I’m going to offer a quote that has become my guiding principle in recent years. It’s from Franklin Delano Roosevelt:
“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”
I can see that printed in simple black script on my back. Maybe with an ornate frame to make it more formal. The aliens or the rogue nation leader or whoever was threatening to blow us to Kingdom Come would read FDR’s altruistic words and decide that the human race isn’t so bad after all. FDR and a tattoo artist and I will save the world!