Monday, July 22, 2013

I Really Regret My Tattoo

A Mother Life

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a person in possession of enough tattoos must eventually regret one of them.

I have several tattoos, and managed to escape regretting them for a number of years. I’m particularly proud of that because I got my first couple of tattoos at 14, an age when, by all rights, I should have ended up letting some drunken 16-year-old etch a crudely drawn dick onto the small of my back with a safety pin and some Indian ink. He would, of course, have told me was a kitten.

But because I had parental consent, I got to go to an actual tattooist and ended up with some pretty good tattoos – even though I only got the one to piss off a chick at school who slept with (or, in retrospect, probably just claimed she slept with) a guy I liked, and the other one, well, I can’t remember why I got that one at all.

Why did I get this emblazoned on my flesh for the rest of my life? Who knows? Who cares? Not me!

Later in life, I got some more tattoos I really ought to regret, like that one of a pool shark that looks a bit  like Jabberjaw, but I kind of like that about it, because the whole point of being a pool shark is that nobody can tell you’re a pool shark.

Also, it's clearly female. You can tell from the eyelashes.

I’m also not real clear on why I got a tattoo of my high school mascot. On the one hand, high school crushed my will to live. On the other hand, my high school mascot was a buccaneer, which is a fancy word for pirate, so now everyone thinks I’m some kind of badass with an awesome pirate tattoo. Okay, honestly, I just wanted an excuse to get a pirate tattoo, but I secretly feel like a dork because the pirate in question is my high school mascot.

My high school mascot carries a knife in its teeth, though, that's pretty rad.
But the one tattoo that I really regret is this one:

It says, “Mountaineers are always free,” in Latin. It’s the West Virginia state motto, which we adopted to reflect our desire to become a free state and remain with the Union when we separated from Virginia in the midst of the Civil War. I got it when I was living in France and I didn’t think I’d ever move back to West Virginia.

I didn’t start regretting the tattoo until after I returned to the U.S., because French is a Latinate language so most French speakers can puzzle it out for themselves. But now that I’m back in the States, I can’t go any fuckin’ where without some rando asking me, “What does your tattoo mean?” 

And no, I don't mean native West Virginians; they never ask because they already know what it means. So I can’t just tell the rando what it means and leave it at that; I have to also explain why I got the tattoo, which leads them to all kinds of insulting conclusions about my genealogy, level of educational attainment and general intellect.  

So now whenever anyone asks, I just say, “It means, ‘Ask me about my tattoo.’”