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Question of the Week: Tattoos

by Susan Henderson on October 1, 2007

Do you have a tattoo? What does it look like? What made you get it?

*

Wednesday, you’ll meet my friend, Pierre Berg, who got his first and only tattoo at Auschwitz. He is 83, and this is his first interview. Please don’t miss his story because he’s waited a long time to tell it.

{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

Bradley October 1, 2007 at 2:59 am

In October of 1993, I was sailing on a tramp chemical tanker. I had spent the last four months on that ship, and it was time for me to move along. When we arrived in Tampa, Florida, the Master signed my discharge and I immediately flew to New Orleans to catch a containership that was bound for Northern Europe. I joined that ship (the SS Thompson Lykes) with some mixed emotions – I was pleased to be going back to Europe, but disappointed because this would be my last ship before I returned to college.

Having twelve hours to kill in New Orleans, I did what any young, single, merchant mariner would have done during New Orleans port call.

And when I was finished with all that nonsense, I got a tattoo.

My tattoo is a parrot that sits on my right shoulder blade. The owner of the tattoo parlor – a bald headed, tattoo covered biker – was also a merchant mariner. And after sharing a few sea-stories and a few drinks, he agreed to do my tattoo for $80 and my U.S. Merchant Marine Academy baseball hat. That skin-art took 2 hours create, and it never occurred to me to consider my sobriety or his before I let him put the needle in my skin. Fortunately, the tattoo came out good and I’ve never regretted my decision.

My mother was a different story. When she saw my tattoo she burst into tears and ran from the room. My sweet suburbanite mom apparently saw a tragedy that I failed to perceive. She made me promise never to let my father know about my “lack of judgment.” Ten years later he went to his grave without ever again seeing my bare shoulder.

Why did I get my tattoo? Good question. I suppose I always expected to become a respectable, boring, underachieving, overweight, office-dwelling minion. And I wanted my tattoo to remind me of a time in my life when I was carefree and interesting and working my way around the world on rusty ships with colorful crews.

Fortunately, I barely managed to avoid the purgatory that I predicted for myself. And though working in a combat zone is far less romantic than sailing the seas on a tramp tanker, it beats the hell out of working for a law firm.

I’m also designing my next tattoo.

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Sarah R. Roundell October 1, 2007 at 4:42 am

Parts of Bradley’s tale above shadow mine – my mom was in tears and threatened to go at me with steel wool when she spotted my first one, my step-father never saw a single one of my four tattoos before he passed away (I wore a lot of tall socks). I shall only speak of my first and last to keep this brief, just before I turned 19 I treated myself to a yin and yang on my left shoulder blade. It felt like the right way to welcome myself to adulthood. When I moved back home from a failed attempt at higher education I got a string of barbed wire (which was poorly done) around my right ankle to symbolise being chained to my old life despite many escape attempts. It is flawed and so am I. I don’t regret a single tattoo and look forward to getting another one.
I am very eager to read Wednesday’s interview when I get back to Canada that night. Stories like Peter’s break my heart, but the strength of people like him is so inspiring.
See you all on the other side of the pond!

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Sarah R. Roundell October 1, 2007 at 4:44 am

Oh, please forgive me for calling Pierre “Peter” that was awful of me.

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Daryl October 1, 2007 at 4:57 am

I have a tattoo. Didn’t get it till I was 40 years old and it sys “MOM”. My mom is probably the person that is my greatest friend who I would never admit that too. I was born on her birthday so that kind of means something, ya know? I have so many theories about who she is to me and why I am still alive, or why I should be the one to die next… I’d have a matching/similar tattoo for “DAD” on my other arm but just haven’t been able to afford it yet.

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Nathalie October 1, 2007 at 5:54 am

No: I’ve never found anything I was sure I might like to have for all my life.
Besides, I won’t have any grand children to show it off to…

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lance reynald October 1, 2007 at 5:55 am

I think I’m about to lose count…

getting a new one next week to commemorate finishing the manuscript… but, I’ll just share my two faves here today.
(I always seem to transform with them though)

at the time I left DC and made big changes in my life I had an Om symbol placed at the back of my neck in dense black ink… funny, but I always forget it is there, people comment and remind me every day… it’s tasteful and gets conversations started… it was the restrained choice; I wanted a dragon on the side of my neck but everyone told me that might make me look like a convict.

and, the most recent one is on my left inner forearm. a sequence of three letters: alef kaf alef. a private thought to me, it’s meaning only comes up when I find myself hanging out with Israelis.

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Sonya October 1, 2007 at 8:31 am

I have loved reading LitPark posts but this is my first—hello! One tattoo is multicolored and large, a Buddhist dharma protector diety named Vajrayogini on my left shoulder. Surrounded by fire and holding a ritual knife, she’s supposed to remind me of the fierceness necessary to protect my own calm.

The other, on my left shoulder blade, is a very blurry lizard I got when I was 19. The tattoo artist sighed after she was finished and said, “well,the shadow didn’t turn out so well. I’ll add some color for free if you want it.” I declined and got out of there fast.

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Paula October 1, 2007 at 8:44 am

Would I expect less than fabulous serendipity when jumping back in to LitPark after a long hiatus? Course not.

Funny thing: just made a bet this weekend — one of those weight loss motivational bets. Loser gets a tattoo to be picked out by the winner.

I don’t have any tattoos. I’m not opposed to one, but would probably never ever actually make the executive decision on what it would be and then follow through.

I just wrote the obit for the most famous tattoo artist in our city a couple of weeks ago. Since then, I’ve probably passed one of his studios a dozen times (for various unusual reasons; they are all far off my beaten paths around town).

Then on vacation last week, I picked up Irving’s “Until I Find You” with no idea that it was all about… the tattoo world. (I’m still working on it, no spoilers please.)

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Heather Fowler October 1, 2007 at 9:07 am

I got my first tattoo at a small parlor in Pacific Beach, a San Diego beach community located along the Pacific Coast. The place was a dive, but I was eighteen and, after no small consideration, suddenly felt that voting alone wasn’t satisfying my need for new permissions. It is a tribal scorpion, about two and a half inches tall, and I got it on the small of my lower back to make permanent my connection with my astrological sign, which I felt defined me to a “T”—brooding, passionate, artsy, loyal, a person of strong connections and a stronger urge for controversy or wildness.

Despite the whole tramp stamp philosophy which floats into mind of a woman getting inked there so that lover can hover behind them and view such artwork in seductive or raw scenarios, I remember I picked the small of my back because I wanted to reveal this tatt or hide it at my whim. I can wear an evening dress later, I reasoned. I can be an old lady and never see it. I can place it somewhere on my skin that age or increasing weight or later pregnancy will not affect. My friend Beth went with me. It did not occur to me at the time that this would be a painful place to tattoo since the skin was so close to the bone, but we proceeded. We signed the papers. We were prepared for the experience, asked questions, readied, and tattooed. Our conversation (hers and mine) just before arriving at this place this went something like, “Want to go get coffee?”

“No.”

“Want to go to shoot pool?”

“No.”

“Want to get a tattoo?”

“Sure.”

Despite that one is not supposed to drink while getting such tattoos since liquor makes for profuse bleeding, it was the man at the parlor, a ZZ top type, who gave us shots of Goldschlager, which is Swiss cinnamon schnapps with floating gold flakes. I have to admit, it was pretty hot to lie on my abdomen while the burning, buzzing sensation occurred, already intoxicated though not legally old enough for that, and thinking this idea was fantastic. My tattoo is all black. I didn’t want colors since they faded; I didn’t want anything cutesy. I loved it, rebel that I was (not), living at home while I worked retail thirty hours a week at the same time as going to school… There was just one problem. I showed it to my mother, who helpfully said: “It looks like it’s crawling right out of your ass,” she said. This bothered me for any number of surreal imagined reasons; suffice it to say, I promptly went down to the coffee house and drew myself an ass avoidance barrier, a ring for the first tatt.

This tatt-around-the-tatt, I decided, would be more personal. This one, I would have a stake in. I designed it like an upside down horseshoe of vines, with a blue diamond in the center for clarity of thought and a symbol for the masculine sign at the top on one side and a feminine sign at the top on the other—trying to capture, I suppose my male and female energy. I went and got this one with my friend Wendy. Years later, the colors weren’t visible enough, the imagined detail wasn’t quite as vivid in real viewing. I didn’t get another one. Soon enough, I moved onto some other sort of rebellion (bad college men? bar town alcoholics? stage designers still in love with their ex-wives? the gay scene when I grew tired of all that?)—but I’m happy with my tatt/s. I’m also glad for my mother’s suggestion of a border, actually. It works for me. And I still hide it (or show it) when I want to.

The only other tattoos I have are from an excruciating decision one day to get permanent eyeliner on my upper lids, but that is another horror story altogether, so I’ll simply leave you with this one… ?

Cheers and affection, as always,
H

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Kimberly October 1, 2007 at 9:09 am

I have a Chinese tattoo on the outer side of my right ankle. It reads “Children to the stage please” or more literally “Please little friends, come to the dance floor.”

I didn’t get it on one wild night in Taiwan (although you’d think that if you ever heard my stories from that particular experience) I got it a few years later on a shiny Easter Sunday in Richmond, VA (there were no tattoo parlors open in Norfolk that day).

But like Nathalie, I pondered for a long time what I wanted to have with me forever. And the reason for this choice is two-fold. One, I love having a permanent, open invitation for friends to come and play with me. Two, the expression is the first I learned in Chinese (besides the curses) and as we didn’t have enough translators for 80 people, and I had a show to run. So I cornered our host and got the basics: Children to the stage, Curtain in/out, Electric lights go, Five minutes to the scene change, Shut up shameless pig-head – the usual.

So I paged the children to the stage, successfully!, and 24 gorgeous Taiwanese-Dressed-as-Parisian-Urchins (aka “Parasians”) came running up to me yammering on about how brilliant a Chinese speaker I was (I assume – I couldn’t understand a word they were saying…)

It was a delightful memory I knew I wanted to have with me forever.

Oh, and Mr. H “designed” it for me (a.k.a. printed it out with his new [at the time] Chinese calligraphy software) which is also nice, because that’s the tour on which we met, and how I consequently met Sue and the rest of the gang here…

Here’s a link (Sue, can you fix this?) http://www.sheshootstoconquer.com/tat.jpg

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Betsy October 1, 2007 at 9:20 am

Two here. One is an ankle bracelet that reads ‘If the sun and moon should doubt, they’d immediately go out.’ (Blake, not me.) I really like this one and I’ve had it for about ten years but the font, it’s been pointed out to me, is somewhat Lord of the Ringsish. The other is a little crown that was in memory of my mom but looks a little like a gang symbol. I take solace in the fact that in Peter Trachtenberg’s book, seven tattoos, he says if you don’t have one that’s fucked up then you’re not serious. Well, something like that. I’m the world’s worst quoter. Anyway I’d like to get one or two more small ones, I’m quite enamored of these pastel colors they have now, but my hunny gently says no.

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Susan Henderson October 1, 2007 at 9:29 am

Hope everyone has a chance to check out Tommy Kane’s wild collaboration with David LaChapelle. I love seeing behind the scenes and works in progress even more than the final result. (You can “friend him” while you’re at it.

Bradley – I’m with you. I want to feel on fire every day. An office job would destroy my soul.

Sarah – Aw, I really like your take on the flawed tattoo!

Lance – I just want to say how absolutely proud I am of you for finishing your book. I know you walked through hell to write it. xoxo

Sonya – Welcome! And oh no, what a horrifying thing to hear from the tattoo artist!

Paula – That’s the funniest, most frightening bet I’ve heard in a long time. You should pitch it to This American Life and see if they’ll follow the story. Oh, p.s., your link isn’t working. Post it here, and I’ll go in and fix it.

Heather – Wow, that is fascinating. And though I’ve never thought of getting a tatoo, now I’m positive it will never happen. Please, oh please, tell the permanent eyeliner story.

Kimberly – It was so great to see you last night! Mr. Henderson’s first Chinese phrase, I think, was “Sew this to here.” It’s amazing how many good things came from that Taiwan opera debacle with She Who Will Not Be Named!

Betsy – Ha! Peter Trachtenberg‘s getting a link for that.

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Claudia October 1, 2007 at 9:42 am

I have a small rose tattoo on my abdomen; it has faded. It used to be red but now it is faded red/pink. The leaves are yellow-tipped. I got the tattoo in Houston, around the port? I think it was around the port – in 1988. My best friend and I went together, and didn’t tell her parents. So we had the tattoos in discreet places, although Melissa’s mother discovered the bumble bee on her ankle pretty quickly. The rose tattoo stretched and grew during pregnancy. My birthday was Saturday, so that means I’ve been wearing that rose for twenty years.

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Jody Reale October 1, 2007 at 10:04 am

What fascinating reading already!

I get a new tattoo almost every day. From my daughter, who’s three; it’s pretty much her favorite game. She asks me to roll up my sleeves and pant legs and goes to work with as many markers as she can find, covering me with “flowers.” And when she’s done, I get to return the favor. Apart from that, I’m tattoless.

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Robin Slick October 1, 2007 at 10:19 am

No. I almost fainted when I got my ears pierced.

And unfortunately, I need to get blood drawn every six weeks due to medication I take. Trust me, the nurse has to give me a lollipop and smiley face sticker to keep me occupied as soon as she puts that rubber thing around my forearm or I start to cry as soon as I see the needle.

But if I were going to get a tattoo, I would get one of these. If any of you have seen the movie Rock School, one of the moms featured is Andrea Collins, mother to the two young twins who perform Black Sabbath songs and are actually pictured on the Rock School CD and movie poster. Andrea is 37 years old and…well…you can read her whole story here. I just found out about this recently and am kind of stunned…Susan, do you think Smith Magazine might be interested in her blog? I was thinking not only as a morale boost but as a way to lead to possible income for her medical bills…

And in lighter news since I’m talking about Rock School, how did the Henderson boys do last night? I’m dying here! Details! Photos! Those boys played their first Beatle show last night, people…this is monumental.

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Gail Siegel October 1, 2007 at 10:30 am

I don’t have a tattoo, but my daughter recently got one on her back, right below her neck. It reads: Be Here Now. Which comes of having the Ram Dass book lying around the same vicinity as the television in our den.

I have no idea if she has any elsewhere. But she’s only 18.

(I always thought my kids would get soccer balls tattooed somewhere on their body, but they didn’t.)

I do have an old story that I never placed which culminates in a tattoo. That, in turn, is based on a tat-art print by Tony Fitzpatrick called My Snakebit Heart. (Susan, did you see that in our dining room? He does a lot of tattoo-derived images.)

I’d love to get a tattoo but think I’d have trouble settling on an image. I have enough trouble buying shoes or clothing. I return things over and over again, and you can’t return a tattoo. And my husband, who was upset when I got second piercings in my ears, would likely freak out.

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Susan Henderson October 1, 2007 at 11:30 am

Robin – Let me give you emails for Larry and Rachel. I’m sure she’s a good fit for Smith Magazine, and I’m stunned and really sad about her news.

I’ll respond to the other comments in a bit. I feel socked in the stomach.

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Gail Siegel October 1, 2007 at 12:55 pm

Sadly, breast cancer is all too common among people I know. How many of you know SL Wisenberg. AKA as Cancer Bitch?

She had her head tattooed when she lost her hair. I think they are temporary tattoos, but maybe not:

http://cancerbitch.blogspot.com/

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Kaytie M. Lee October 1, 2007 at 1:21 pm

I haven’t got any tattoos because I discovered I was allergic to my ear piercings (the holes would never heal and I’d bleed down my neck without knowing it). I’ve heard tattoo ink can have metal in it, so much as I’ve wanted to get one, the thought that it might cause severe skin problems has made me never pursue it.

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Susan Henderson October 1, 2007 at 2:00 pm

Do you guys know Nicole Atkins? I love love love her voice.

I got mail today that made me cry. Good mail. I’ll share Friday, maybe. Or next week.

Claudia – That stretched tattoo was worth it, huh?

Jody – That’s the sweetest story.

Robin – I am so unbelievably proud of my boys. The show was awesome, and I’ll post all about it soon. I have to collect the photos and video first.

Gail – I’m so sorry I didn’t even notice the art on the walls because I was so head over heels in love with your dog. It was one of those the-only-one-who-exists-in-my-world-right-now-is-you moments. I’ll check out your link even though I’m scared it will crush me.

Kaytie – If there was any wiggle room about me getting a tattoo, you’ve now closed the door completely!

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Susanna Donato October 1, 2007 at 2:20 pm

I have a tree of life tattooed on my left hip. It’s a tree whose branches intertwine with the roots intertwine with the branches. Kind of sums up my everything-is-connected philosophy.

I tend to faint about 98% of the time when a needle is stuck into me. At the tattoo shop, I thought I would make it all the way to the end without passing out. But afterward, when my pants were pulled back up, I tumbled straight forward out of the chair. The tattoo artist saw me out of the corner of his eye and stuck out an arm to break my fall, but I still ended up on the linoleum. My friend brought me a Coke and I recovered.

I got the tattoo before I got married twelve years ago (our anniversary is this coming Sunday). I wanted it where it could mostly be hidden, but would show in a swimsuit. My mother spotted it when I was changing into my wedding dress. I don’t remember if she said something or just pursed her lips. After a while, I mostly forgot it, but my daughter notices it all the time and tells everyone I have a tattoo.

I love tattoos and would love to get more, but I’d want them all over myself, which doesn’t work with my soul-stifling business job.

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Aurelio O'Brien October 1, 2007 at 3:06 pm

The only tattoo I have I got when I was about 12. It is a small gray dot on my forehead I accidentally gave to myself by leaning into a sharp pencil – being an aspiring artist/spaz has it’s risks.

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Kimberly October 1, 2007 at 3:24 pm

Robin (and all…) The Hendersons ROCKED! Sue – the pix should have overwhelmed you inbox by the time you read this.

Robin: you were dearly missed, but we held up our cell phones (who knew lighters were passe?) during “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” in your honor…

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Noria October 1, 2007 at 4:02 pm

A friend of a friend gave me my first tattoo, an image of Chang’e, the Moon Lady, lifted from a Victorian tin of Chinese tea. The tattoo artist gave me a deal. The electric needle kept shutting off, and the woman would give it a whack to get it started again. She also went in too deep, so the tattoo has scarred and blurred. Never go bargain-hunting when it comes to tattoos. The second tattoo I got, in keeping with the theme, is a steaming cup of tea over my heart.

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Michael D. Williams October 1, 2007 at 4:17 pm

I have a Thunderbird on my calf. It was kinda a whim but at the time in Oklahoma it was illegal to give a tattoo so it involved a road trip to Dallas. It was me an old girlfriend and my nephew. We started out early and when we arrived we looked at various shops and finnlaly settled on a guy named Lurch. He was a big man and you could understand the name. His shop was filled with pictures of him and various rock stars an old dentist chair. We picked our tats and and took our turns, one thing I always remember was him singing Space Cowboy and changing midnight toker to midnight coker. We spent the rest of the night drinking and wandering the streets of the west end with our various parts covered in gauze. That was about 1994 or 95, November of 06 it became legal to give a tattoo in Oklahoma, the last state to do so. We started out very progressive at one point 25% of the state offices were held by socialists, but things changed.

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Aimee October 1, 2007 at 5:33 pm

I got ink when I turned 18. For me it symbolized growing up and getting past my horrible high school years.

I have one regret…not that I got it but where I got it and what I got. I put a butterfly the size of a quarter on my left hip bone in the front. I regret that people call it a tramp stamp. It actually meant something to me at the time and was not meant to appear sexy or sleazy. I had to put it somewhere my Dad would never see it, so I chose that spot. He told me if I got a tattoo he would not pay for my education. Now it just seems like a big cliche. Oh well.

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Carolyn Burns Bass October 1, 2007 at 5:56 pm

My skin, like my hair, is virgin. I have natural body art. When I tan I get reverse freckles on my arms and legs–this year they combined on my upper arm in the face of Elvis.

My dad had an eagle spread across his chest, as well as a half-dozen other indigo tats that blurred over the years. He also had pierced ears. Did I ever tell you he was a sword swallower?

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Richard Cooper October 1, 2007 at 7:46 pm

I was fascinated by my grandfather’s tattoos when I was a kid, especially the one of an actual-sized dagger on the inside of his forearm that pierced the skin and re-emerged from underneath, blood dripping from the tip of the blade. An acquaintance told me many years later the dagger was the sign of an assassin. I don’t remember his other tattoos, but I could ask mom about them, I suppose. Maybe she’d also know if Grandpa was a member of a secret order of Norwegian assassins. Ya, no, da Uffda Mafia does not exist! I did inherit one of grandpa’s pocket knives…but no tattoos…not yet.

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James Spring October 1, 2007 at 8:14 pm

One.

Full wrap around my left bicep, from back in the days of running the boat.

I think I win in teh ‘elaborate’ category.

It’s a Mayan scene from a lintel on a ruined temple at Yaxchilan on the Guatemalan border. The Lord Bird Jaguar IV is ascending to the throne, and he sits on the two headed serpent god Kawil to beseech him for the wisdom to lead. The scene is tied together under my arm by a Mayan jaguar glyph.

What can I say? Too much time in Central America…

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Jonathan Evison October 1, 2007 at 9:19 pm

. . . on my chest: i’ve got a sea-monster wearing a jean vest,playing a flying-v guitar . . . he’s in the middle of a kickass solo, and his hair is standing straight up . . . and he’s rising out of a roiling sea of blood . . . okay, i’m lying . . .but if i ever did get a tattoo, that would be it . . .

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Oronte Churm October 1, 2007 at 11:40 pm

I would never covet my neighbor’s wife, or eat someone, or develop an agricultural monoculture that put our food supply in danger because of its lack of biodiversity…. Oh, wait. I thought you asked about taboos. My fault.

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Daryl October 2, 2007 at 12:21 am

ok, just a little heartbroken now that Miss LitPark didn’t comment about MY tattoo story, but that is ok. really it is!!!

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Nathalie October 2, 2007 at 2:49 am

I am surprised to see that nobody has asked you, Susan, if you had one…
I meant to yesterday and forgot,

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Lee October 2, 2007 at 7:46 am

My first tattoo happened the night before I graduated from college. A group of us went. All the girls got the Japanese symbol for “friendship” and my two buddies and I got the Greek word “Philia” tattooed. I designed it and the tattooer (?) traced my design.
For my last birthday I had an anchor tattooed on my leg. My ten year anniversary out of the Navy. Fitting? I didn’t have or get a single tatt the whole time I was in.
I have two others. All four mean something. One of them I hate what it means to me, but it’s there and a constant reminder.

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Susan Henderson October 2, 2007 at 11:28 am

Okay, guys, if you don’t think this video is funny, you’ll have to take it up with Lance because he sent it to me:

Susanna – Happy anniversary! I love little acupuncture needles. And I love having my blood drawn – though my blood pressure is so low (like dead-person low) that it takes forever to get even a drop. Would someone describe the actual instrument used at tattoo parlors? I’m so curious.

Aurelio – It really stayed gray? So you’ve got this slow-drip of lead in your forehead? Oh, now that explains so much….

Kimberly – Yeah, they did pretty much rock. The pictures are great. I’m pestering Mr. Henderson to get some video clips ready for Monday.

Noria – Noria! And that little scene is worthy of a chapter opener. I want to see it in a book!

Michael – Ha! I love these Oklahoma stories. Do you know Ray Norsworthy? He’s a writer out in your neck of the woods, I think.

Aimee – Most of the people I love the most had horrible high school years. Not fitting in and having a breakdown in high school seems to be an indicator of a cool, deep character.

Carolyn – Your dad is quite the character!

Richard – You need to find that out, Richard! And hey, I’m a good part Norwegian. Maybe our ancestors tangled!

James – Yeah, go and show off by creating a “most elaborate” category. We need to talk about where and how you’re sending out your manuscript. I want to hear some better news from you.

Jonathan – Great to see you again, you big fabricator!

Oronte – Yay! You’re here!

Daryl – I didn’t?! I sure as hell loved it. Okay, that’s it, I’m getting a tattoo that says DARYL. And I hope it hurts, too.

I’m sorry, Daryl!!!! xoxoxoxoxo!!

Nathalie – I’ll answer the question on Friday.

Lee – I love it that you hate one of your tattoos. Write that one into a poem and post it here.

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Shelley Marlow October 2, 2007 at 3:11 pm

A quick note about my tattoo as I dash around with deadlines:
I had planned for awhile, an eleven point star on my right forearm, a similar place that the Jews had been tattooed, in honor of thier suffering, as I am Jewish, Queer and a gypsy(palmreader).
I gave myself the tattoo with two needles one in front of the other and wrapped with thread making an inkwell. Eleven is one of my numbers and is a “master” number.

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Jessica October 2, 2007 at 4:48 pm

No tattoos but I have scars.

Maybe we can talk about scars sometime?

I’m really anticipating Pierre Berg’s story. My father was in the army (the Rainbow division) and helped liberate Dachau. He says the memory of that experience has only grown stronger over time and for all the things he saw during the war, nothing comes close to what he saw that day. He’s 86.

Jessica

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Susan Henderson October 2, 2007 at 5:28 pm

Shelley – Next time I see you, I’m asking for a palm reading! Fascinating story about your tattoo.

Jessica – I would love to introduce your dad to Pierre, if he’d like that. Or he can join the discussion. Scars – what a great topic!

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Jessica October 2, 2007 at 5:41 pm

Susan,

That’s a great idea. Thing is, my father is…I don’t know how to describe it properly…withdrawn, uncomfortable about bringing attention to himself about this? I tried to introduce him to a man here in Boston who was a prisoner at Dachau and a survivor because of the army liberation but it didn’t happen. I did manage to take my father to a ceremony commemorating one of the army divisions who liberated Dachau (the seventh division? I have to go back and check). And though he accompanied me to the ceremony, he didn’t pursue further contacts. I guess everyone has their way of dealing with the unspeakable and the unthinkable. I recently spent a few hours taping his war experience, though. I’m glad Pierre is telling his story because this generation is moving beyond earth and we need to record these experiences.

(Sorry. I digressed from tattoos but I guess this story about my father is a kind of emotional tatoo.)
Jessica

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Daryl October 2, 2007 at 10:31 pm

Susan? Can I come and give you the tattoo myself? hee hee!

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Juliet deWal October 3, 2007 at 10:23 am

Two. One is crazy thing I did when I was angry, and one to express a feeling I wanted to remember. I remember the emotion of both… and smile.

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Susan Henderson October 3, 2007 at 10:42 am

Jessica – That makes me like him even more. But the offer is always open; I’m happy to do introductions.

Daryl – Ha! The tattoo reads DARYL ROCKS.

Juliet – I just love the idea of getting a tattoo when you’re angry!

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Michael D. Williams October 3, 2007 at 4:56 pm

I have a million and one Oklahoma stories and Oklahomans in other places stories. I do not know Ray Norsworthy. Does he live here or from here???? I have been thinking of getting another tattoo but I don’t know what. I have a story on my myspace blog, it’s a multiple entry story and I think it has gotten quite long matbe twenty entries under bloging. http://www.myspace.com/troutbum70
check it out. I’m no pro but it’s a good story…..

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Susan Henderson October 3, 2007 at 6:27 pm

Here’s an interview with Ray.

I’m pretty sure he’s still in Oklahoma. I can ask him. I’ll check out your blog tonight.

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Michael D. Williams October 3, 2007 at 8:46 pm

That was a good interview, thank you. I know a lot of the places and stories he talked about. I’ve spent many a day in the Wichita mtns. Rock climbing, fishing, hiking and taking pictures. It is beautiful. Hope you like the blog.

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Michael D. Williams October 3, 2007 at 8:48 pm

I am open to criticism. Thanks……

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Susanna Donato October 4, 2007 at 4:23 pm

Hmm, looks like Wikipedia has more information than you probably ever wanted to know about the tattoo machine: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tattoo_gun

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