Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Power of the printed body

…HA got her first tattoo at 37 and her second, well, she isn’t sayin’.

…The American Academy of Dermatology says one in four people between the ages of 14 and 50 are “marked for life,” as HA’s mother puts it.

…Yes. For life! HA also has a lot of other scars and marks acquired as she struggles across this mortal plane.

…People who aren’t tattooed are almost the weird ones now…”What? You don’t have art?”

…As for piercings, one in seven people has one other than the earlobe.

…On the show “Miami Ink” on The Learning Channel, each hour show reveals many reasons people get tattooed. As a remembrance of someone who died, as a reminder to stay their best selves, to gain power (dragons), luck (koi and dragons), protection (that’s why the sailors did it so often—as protection).

…And don’t forget rebellion. And to show strength.

…Does it hurt?

…Sure, that’s part of the whole idea.

…But only part.

…The other part is the humor…the lightness of being. HA’s first tattooist, Smokey Nightingale, used to joke…

…”Looks good, for another ten bucks I will autograph it for ya.”

…Or: “You’ll become very attached to that.”

…(Not even the biggest laser in the world could part us.)

…Some tips? Don’t do your neck or hands, much less your face. IBM recruiters are still a little starchy about that.

…The color white tends to absorb.

…Make sure the studio has an autoclave to sterilize the needles. (Duh.)

…If the tattooist tapes a paper towel to you, remember, you are not in a doctor’s office…this is an artist.

…And if you’re not sure you’re into the lifetime commitment thing, try a henna design that gradually washes off.

…Or those cool little stick-ons. Of course, they are a gateway to the harder stuff. How do you think HA got started?

…Come to think of it, the next time HA is near South Beach, a side trip to Miami Ink might be on the agenda.

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