Popular culture is an ever-changing world that occasionally boggles the minds of old folks, such as me.
One element of contemporary culture involves the stunning proliferation of tattoos. Yep, damn near everyone seems to have ’em. I want to discuss briefly an element of “tat world” that baffles me in the extreme.
We attended a Fourth of July party the other evening at Lake Bob Sandlin, a beautiful area about 90 miles east of us in East Texas. There was plenty of food, fun, fellowship — and fireworks.
I also saw my share of tats. Young folks were inked up. Some not-so-young folks were, too. One woman had a tat that caught my attention, and it brings me to the question of the day: Why put something on your body that contains text that you cannot read?
She had inked up the calves of both legs. One of the designs contained some sort of written message. I wanted to read what the message was on her leg, except that I had this problem that got in the way: She is a total stranger; I don’t know her from the woman in the moon. I couldn’t possibly feel comfortable asking this individual, “Pardon me, but what does the message say on the back of your right leg? May I stoop down to read it, or will you just tell me what it says?”
Look, I don’t begrudge those who ink up their bodies with tattoos. That’s their call. To each his/her own … that’s one of my mottos of everyday life.
I made a solemn vow to my late father back in 1968 while I was preparing to be inducted into the U.S. Army. Dad implored me, he begged me, to please do not get a tattoo. He wore a tat on one of his arms that he acquired in the Navy during World War II. As I recall his story, he was on liberty in Tunisia and decided to get a tattoo after consuming too many adult beverages one evening.
He regretted it every day of his life. Dad didn’t want me to scar my body. So I agreed then and I will keep that promise to him for as long as I live.
However, were I to get one I would want it to be recognizable from a distance so that I could avoid questions from perfect strangers.
Ahh, that element of pop culture will just have to evolve without me.