Tattoo Do You?

There is an old saying, a woman would never have a second baby if she remembered how much the first one hurt coming out. Now obviously babies can’t pop out without at least a year’s time so there’s a reason we are not a society of “only childs.” So what happens that makes people cover themselves with tattoos?

Now I’m not needle-phobic, I don’t really get squeamish at an injection or blood draw. And I’m mostly just irritated when a new nurse can’t find a vein. But I’m certainly not going to stare at the doctor when I’ve gotten a tetanus shot and say “more please.”

So how do people do it? When I was young my uncle had tattoos on his forearms from the army and somehow, they just looked like they belonged there. But from my understanding it was a rite of passage, a bonding, and the decision was usually made after a fair amount of alcohol.

My first girlfriend got a tattoo of a heart, just the outline, on one of her breasts. Can’t remember which one. She thought she was so cool, I was indifferent. Through my 20s and 30s I knew women who had a small tattoo on their ankle, maybe a shoulder, and occasionally the lower back. But not the whole body!

Since moving to Los Angeles I have seen people absolutely covered with them. And a really lot of people. Men and women. I know it doesn’t happen in one sitting, but still, doesn’t it hurt? It’s got too and it scares me. There’s a whole large group of people that want to subject themselves to a terrible amount of pain. What do they do on their off-tattooing days? Slam a door closed repeatedly on their heads? Grab a hammer and play whack-a-mole with their feet? Sit on a toilet of nails (get it, that’s a play on the bed of nails…ha…guess it’s no good if you have to explain it.)

I just don’t get it. Don’t like pain myself, don’t cry like a baby when I’m hurt, but don’t seek it out either. Hello, I’m Jeff. I’ve been meaning to have someone scrape my skin with a needle. Have you got time?

But I won’t judge anyone on their choice. In the 80s I had spikey hair on top and a bit of a mullet in the back. In the 90s I had a pony tail. Neither exist anymore, mostly because my hair rebelled and stop growing. But I think back and think both of those looks were silly. But they’re not there anymore. Good luck with those tattoos when you’re older, cause they’ll still be there; the snake will look more like a badly shoveled curve, Hello Kitty will look like a donkey and the skull will have an upside down smiley face.

 

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Spit Sells

In 2010, I participated in a UCLA study called Y2K. Don’t ask me why it was called that and hadn’t started until ten years later, I didn’t go to college so it must be stuff that smarter people understand.

The study consisted of ten hours of tests to amass data on the brain, cognitive thinking and reaction times. I finished the tests in seven hours and still got paid for ten. Take that, high school guidance counselor who thought that my wanting to be a magician was a waste of my math skills!

Two years later I received a follow up email that offered some more tests, this time just online from the convenience of your home, in exchange for a $15 Amazon gift card. I liked the cash better but I also like books, it was quick and easy and I read Nick Hornsby’s A Long Way Down. If you like my blog and haven’t read any of his novels, you should. My fellow writer’s group writers compared me to him and I was infinitely flattered.

Then there was another email about a few more tests, a little bit longer, and you got a $30 Amazon gift card. But you had to send in a sample of your saliva for some kind of genetic study.

So the package arrived. A small tube with a small funnel attached that you were to spit into until you reached a certain line. Now I’m not a spitter. I can’t hock a lugie, I can only spray a bit. So it took me a good fifteen minutes to fill up to the appropriate amount; which an average guy could do in one take. Then I sealed it up and sent it on its way.

But now I’m nervous. What if they’re able to tell all my shortcomings from my saliva and the difficulty I have with spitting. What if they know I still drool on my pillow? What if they know that I’m afraid of girls with too many tattoos? What if they discover that I cheated on my DMV test?

Oh well, the books are here. Perhaps Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance will calm my fears.