I think it’s time to get a tattoo, but I need your help, dear readers. The question is what do I get? I have a few options that I’ll discuss below, but I’m also open to suggestions within reason. My criteria is this: My tattoo must have significance. I don’t understand getting ink (I’m not cool enough to say it like that, probably) without really taking the time to think about it. Whims are fine, but not when dealing with a permanent alteration to my skin. On the flipside, I think tattoos can be kind of an extension of your humor, too. I’m not opposed to something seemingly ridiculous and absurd as long as I can still laugh about it years from now. What’s the story behind your tattoo(s)? Am I worrying about it too much? Here are some ideas I’m tossing around for a Christmas present to myself.
I was never really close to my father (he left when I was 10 years old), but I still feel a connection to him. Now, six months after he passed away, I’m beginning to understand what it’s like to lose a parent—even one that was so distant from my daily life. Gone is the anger, and in its place is a rotating series of happy memories. The one word that I will forever immediately associate with my father is "copacetic." This is how he would describe every situation, no matter how difficult or painful. He said everything in his life was "copacetic" just days before he passed. The tragedy is that rarely was his life situation anything but chaotic. There’s just something about that word ...
A bit of a family quarrel is causing some concern about the future of the only place I’ve ever truly called home. Located in Limestone, Tenn., near Jonesborough, the farm is a 126-acre compound of beauty and fear. From the outside, it appears as just a friendly, country valley with a few houses; to those of us in the know, the farm is the result of a doomsday prepper with money to spend. The entire compound could be shuttered from the inside and sustained for at least a decade if necessary. There are artillery rooms and underground bunkers with barrels of nonperishable foods. It’s weird and I love that I can call the farm my home and happy place. How to turn it into a tattoo, though? I’d like to incorporate this image, but it might be too complex?
Blah, blah, blah. Music is important to everybody with ears, so it’s kind of a cliché to think I’m special for any reason whatsoever. Still, songs are what keep me grounded through the tough times. Artists like Richard Thompson, John Hiatt, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits are all personal favorites with a number of great lines for tattoo fodder. This list shows some great ways song lyrics could be used as tattoos. Though "God" means something different to everybody, I really like the following line from Richard Thompson’s "King of Bohemia": "And there is no rest/For the ones God blessed/And he blessed you best of all." But how to make it a tattoo? I could also see Waits’ "All the World is Green" as an amazing tattoo: "Pretend that you owe me nothing and all the world is green."
"This too shall pass."
A proverb with a connection to almost all of the religions from Christianity to Buddhism and beyond, "This too shall pass" is a reminder that whatever situation you are currently in, whatever emotional state you find yourself, it is temporary—as are all material conditions. I first became aware of the term from Eckhart Tolle’s "A New Earth" in which he recalls this story. What I like so much about this phrase is that it serves as a constant reminder not to judge yourself for the situations you find yourself in. This is not a "be happy regardless" or "suck it up" kind of phrase; it’s deeper than that. I take it to mean something more along the lines of "go with the flow" because everything will change, for better or for worse. A lot of people already have this tattoo for good reason.
A bleeding swastika and other blatantly offensive images are off-limits, but like I said, I’m not opposed to something completely ridiculous for a tattoo so long as it remains funny. I like funny. These tattoos are not funny, however. I don’t want a dolphin tramp stamp or anything having to do with the Insane Clown Posse. Corporate advertisements are a nonstarter for me. Like, for example, I would never place an image of a box of Cheese Nips near my nips or anywhere else. Cartoon animals, horror images, dogs having sex and anthropomorphic robots are also off-limits. Photorealistic turkeys and anything using my belly button as posterior are also not wanted. Other than that, I’m willing to hear your ideas. Pitch away.
The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.
Sign up for our email list to get your morning news delivered directly to your inbox. All we need is your email address.