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September 19, 2012

Tattoo You (Not Me)


I have a tattoo.

I got it in Tijuana. I also married some Mexican floozy but I don't remember her name.

OK, I'm lying.

I actually got my tattoo when I was in the Navy.

The other day there was a picture of that perv in New York who raped the 73-year-old woman in Central Park. He had tattoos all over him. This is a trend I've noticed – people have tattoos, dozens of them, all over their bodies, including their faces and necks. Convicts are all inevitably covered with tattoos. Homeless people have tattoos.

Tattoos can cost anywhere from $65 to upwards of $300 or more depending on the complexity. How can these people afford tattoos?

If I were homeless and I grubbed up a few bucks I'd spend it on something that was good for me, like cigarettes or a bottle of hooch.

The last thing I would do is go to a biker dude with huge muscles, long greasy hair, a graying beard, and a permanent scowl on his face and say, "Please take that hot, filthy needle you have and carve something really ugly on my chest."

I'm lying about being in the Navy, too. The truth is I've spent some times on boats, but sailing never agreed with me. Usually I get sick to my stomach. I couldn't figure out why every time I went sailing I would throw up.

Finally I asked one of my friends who owns a boat why that was.

"You get seasick," he informed me.

Big duh.

I've been fore and aft, port and starboard. I've been aloft and below, I've close-hauled, been hard-a-lee, and I've come about more than I care to admit. I know a clew from a cleat, and being that I get seasick I'm well acquainted with a headstay, and I'm not jibing you. I've always enjoyed a good lashing, but I digress.

It used to be only tough guys in the Marines or the Navy had tattoos. During World War II guys would come home from the war with them. They would have cute themes, like "Anchors Away" or "I Love Mom."

According to The History Of Tattooing – yes, there is such a book --

"After World War II, tattoos became denigrated by their associations with Marlon Brando type bikers and juvenile delinquents. Tattooing had little respect in American culture."

Nevertheless, the fad started up again, and is more popular now than any time in history.

A lot of people have Chinese symbols, especially women. You'll see them on the ankle, on their shoulders, and god knows what other places. When you ask them what the symbols mean they say stuff like, "Eternal Life Is In My Stars" or "The Sun Shines On Me." To hear them tell it, every Chinese symbol sounds like something out of a fortune cookie. What they don't know is the tattoo "artist" doesn't have any idea what the symbol means. That's why when some yuppie girls go to Chinatown all the people laugh at her – because the symbol on her neck really means, "There is poopie in my armpit."

NBA basketball players are positively reptilian these days. Their bodies are covered with tattoos, invariably ugly. But the craze has spread to mainstream America.

Sixty years ago the most popular tattoos were skull and crossbones, lucky seven (dice), crosses, butterflies, and lions.

Nowadays it's gang logos, Kanji (Chinese characters), and the name of the first person you ever made love to. Those, by the way, are the most frequently removed tattoos. My first tattoo said "Playmate of The Month, June 1964." I loved that woman but she acted like she didn't even know I existed – that's women for ya. So I had it removed. (Now it says "Left Hand" but let's not go there.)

Consider J.R. Smith of the New York Knicks. His entire back is tattooed with some bizarre street scene with "Just Klownin" written across the shoulder blades. The problem is that, until the beat writers asked, he apparently thought "clowning" was spelled "klownin." Don't ask what college he went to.

The award for worst tattoo in the NBA, though, goes to Chris Anderson (see picture). What's really weird is, despite having it written across his neck, his nickname is not "Bird." Go figure.

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