TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Editorials

February 6, 2014

Take time to think before getting a tattoo

CORBIN — I have a tattoo.

Now that you’ve passed the collective sigh of shock, I’ve had it for more than 20 years.

I say that because I was perusing something on the Internet and came across a tattoo faux pas — somebody got branded with a tattoo celebrating the Broncos’ win in Sunday’s Super Bowl.

Anyone who spent five minutes watching the big game knows the Seahawks dominated the game from the first quarter on.

So seeing that huge mistake cracked me up.

I’ve noticed over the years that tattoos have become less and less taboo — although I’m also noticing the tattoos are becoming more obvious, sneaking out from under shirts, the bottoms of pants, and the ends of sleeves.

Now, when I was 19, tattoos were still a little bit taboo — the available tattoo parlors in the Johnson City, Tenn. area were scary at best.

But for some insane reason, I got it in my head that I wanted to get a tattoo.

None of my friends at the time had one — in fact, I can’t remember anyone I knew who bore the mark of a decorative needle.

But, despite the fact I was young and very impetuous, I was determined to not only think long and hard about the decision, but to also think of what I could live with when I was older.

Like I am right now.

I spent almost eight months looking at tattoo pictures, and researching the local parlors to see who would be best suited to work on me.

I also gave serious consideration to that tattoo’s location.

The first decision reached was the “what” my tattoo was going to be — a black scorpion to represent my astrological sign of Scorpio.

Location of tattoo came next. I knew I didn’t want it in a place that could be seen by potential interviewers for jobs.

I didn’t want it in a place that it was expected to be shown off — like my chest or arms or legs. I’m not built for that type of display and don’t plan on getting that way any time soon.

So I settled for the belt line.

Then it was a matter of who was going to do it — and that took more time than anything else.

I went by design and reputation — what little I could uncover anyway.

The day came when I was going to get the tattoo — and I went flat sober.

I had read somewhere during my research that the blood thins with alcohol, making it harder to get the tattoo.

I didn’t want the process to be any harder.

I get to this parlor — a “remodeled” mobile home with a ramshackle front display area along a stretch of Highway 19 south toward Elizabethton, Tenn.

I walk in, and the place is almost empty.

This guy comes out, and a small part of me wanted to back up out the door and split for the car.

But I was determined and my mind made up — I was leaving with that tattoo that evening.

He was a little shorter than me, which is no big deal, but he was covered — literally covered — with tattoos.

They were splattered across his face — colored around his neck — just everywhere you looked and saw flesh it was painted up with another tattoo.

There were so many it was hard to tell one from another.

But not only was he tattooed — he was pierced several times as well.

There was a hunk of metal in his nose, all through his ears, eyebrows and the works. The one I vividly remember was the one just below the Adam’s apple in his neck.

But again, I remained determined.

I spoke with the man, who was gruff and a bit intimidating, and we negotiated a price around $70.

Now, today’s shops typically are more private and include more professionalism.

At that time, if you wanted one you dealt with all the extra baggage.

As you have already surmised, I was determined to get it done.

So I was brought behind the counter, and placed in a type of old-style medical prop table.

I showed where the tattoo was to go — and he informed me I would have to be a little more revealing so he could, as he put it, paint the skin canvass.

Although blushing, I didn’t hesitate — and that’s when the man’s wife emerged from a curtained-off area with a pack of cigarettes.

“Do you smoke, darlin’?” she asked.

Of course, I did.

“Well we don’t allow smoking in here, unless you’re getting tatted up,” she said while pulling up a chair. “Have one.”

By this time, several people had wandered into the shop, and were watching the process take place.

A small part of me was ready to bolt from the room.

But the rest of me remained steadfast in my desire for that silly tattoo, and I stayed, smoked, sweated and bled a little.

When it was done and paid for, I politely thanked the couple for their time and hospitality — and nearly fled the little mobile home running.

I was sore for a few days, but once it healed up, I was happy.

And here it is, 22 years after making this decision — and I am still pleased with the tattoo.

In fact, there’s never been one moment which I have regretted the decision.

For me, the only real surprise came when I revealed that I had a tattoo to my mother. We were riding together, just the two of us, headed for Charlotte, N.C. where I had a job interview.

Somehow the topic of tattoos came up — and I just blurted it out that I had gone under the needle.

She got very quiet for a moment — I figured she was gearing up for a patented discussion of the matter.

But instead she took me by surprise, wanting to see it and glad it was out of sight for potential job interviewers in the future.

Look I know tattoos are the newest craze — they started becoming really popular and people are getting them in places I would never have dreamed to put one.

But if you’re contemplating getting a tattoo, take my advice and spend some time thinking about it.

Otherwise you’ll end up with a faux pas like our aforementioned Broncos fan.

John Ross is a staff writer for the Times-Tribune. He can be reached at jross@thetimestribune.com.

1
Text Only
Editorials
  • LIKE IT OR NOT: MLB's All Star effort was a bust

    With the 85th edition of Major League Baseball’s All-Star game in the books, I have to say I feel like the whole thing was a complete bust.

    July 18, 2014

  • THE WAY IT IS: Some local teams can make a run

    Well folks, our Little League All-Star action is beginning to wind down, and I’ve been fortunate enough to see two of the Tri-County’s resp

    July 17, 2014

  • LIKE IT OR NOT: It's been a very busy summer

    While a lot of people would expect the local sports scene to slow down in the Tri-County in the summer time, that’s not usually the case for us here at the Times-Tribune.

    July 16, 2014

  • John Ross.jpg May we all cherish those few WWII vets who still live

    I watch this old BBC program pretty often called “Are You Being Served?” It’s mostly out of syndication — what shows remain can be seen most often through PBS.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0502 Bobbie Poynter So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, adieu

    I never have been very good at saying goodbye — family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, community — for years you’ve had my back and in turn, I believe I’ve had yours.

    July 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ronnie Ellis.jpg ‘Uh hummm!’ It’s been an interesting week

    One column can’t cover everything from a busy week of political events, but here are some quick takeaways from last week.

    July 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brad Hall.jpg Let’s multiply our numbers like fleas do

    Last Saturday, my wife, Carmen, and I spent the day at the Kings Island theme park near Cincinnati, Ohio.

    July 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • John Burkhart.jpg Not an earthly trace

    Just married (1897) and in his late 20’s, my grandfather was determined to make a living on a hillside farm covered in wilderness; much as his father had done before him in 1846  when he arrived from Germany.

    July 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brad Hall.jpg Col. Mustard with the candlestick in Heaven

    One of my favorite movies is the murder mystery comedy “Clue,” which is based on the popular board game of the same name.

    June 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • John Burkhart.jpg Now or Never

    A story is told of an old widower who decided it was time to find a new wife. He chose to look for this new bride through the obituaries column; identifying new widows.

    June 30, 2014 1 Photo

Front page
Featured Ads
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast Trump: DC Hotel Will Be Among World's Best Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Republicans Hold a Hearing on IRS Lost Emails Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: MH17 Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel Clinton: "AIDS-Free Generation Within Our Reach" Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide