Youth­ful re­bel­lion and com­i­cal cheap ink

GA Voice - - LGBT Military -

“Is that a tat­too?” she asked, hold­ing back a laugh. “Yes,” I grum­bled, for­get­ting it was there. At one time you only as­so­ci­ated tattoos with mem­bers of the mil­i­tary, get­ting their ink at some ex­otic for­eign port. Nowa­days it is com­mon to find a tat­too par­lor on any sub­ur­ban corner, and the at­ti­tude to­ward them has turned from unattrac­tive to artis­tic. I wouldn’t say that’s the case with my tat­too, since most women who come across it tend to find it ridicu­lously funny.

Do you re­mem­ber the ‘90s trend of get­ting your ears pierced at the top or sides rather than just the lobes? When I was in col­lege no one in Knoxville would pierce that car­ti­lage ex­cept tat­too par­lors, since de­part­ment stores dis­tanced them­selves from the risk of in­fec­tion. A buddy of mine at the time wanted her ears pierced but was afraid to go into a tat­too par­lor. I did not hold that fear and be­ing the good, self­less friend I was, I vol­un­teered to join her on her er­rand so she could get what she wanted. Need­less to say, it was a trip that I should have put more thought into.

We were greeted by the only artist avail­able in the small tat­too es­tab­lish­ment and learned his name was Preacher. Ap­par­ently he was a former South­ern Bap­tist min­is­ter and was happy to help us both with our re­quests. Of course I had no re­quest since I was only there for moral sup­port, but the good Preacher let me know that he had time for a quick tat­too if I was in­ter­ested. The power of sug­ges­tion is very strong, and as my friend went to get her long-awaited pierc­ings my ca­sual pe­rusal of the tat­too art on the wall turned into a de­sire for re­bel­lion. I would get a tat­too, why not? I’m an adult now. Let’s do this!

Then Preacher asked me how much money I had, and I quickly learned the $20 in my pocket would not af­ford me the bril­liant pieces on the wall, yet I was al­ready fired up to chart a new course in my life - a woman with a tat­too! We came up with a sim­ple so­lu­tion, a women’s sym­bol around my naval. Preacher even used a quar­ter to make sure his cir­cle was ac­cu­rate, and my friend waited as I suf­fered through what felt like bee stings un­til his work was com­plete. How did it turn out? Let’s just say it looked as if I had done it with my own pen, in prison.

No wor­ries, I thought, once I grad­u­ate col­lege I’ll make money and will be able to get a more artis­tic tat­too to cover it and make it beau­ti­ful. Un­for­tu­nately, I went into kid­ney fail­ure in my 20s be­fore said for­tune was made, and due to my trans­plant I am no longer al­lowed to get a tat­too due to risk of in­fec­tion. Oh, life, you re­ally do have a sense of hu­mor, since a risk of in­fec­tion for my friend is what got me into that par­lor in the first place.

I re­ally do for­get it’s there un­til a mo­ment not meant for laugh­ter, when a woman is so caught off guard she has to say some­thing about it. It makes me won­der where that col­lege friend is now. Likely liv­ing hap­pily with ear holes that have grown over, while I am stuck with my com­i­cal cheap ink.

Melissa Carter is one of the Morn­ing Show hosts on B98.5. In ad­di­tion, she is a writer for the Huff­in­g­ton Post. She is rec­og­nized as one of the first out ra­dio per­son­al­i­ties in At­lanta and one of the few in the coun­try. Fol­low her on Twit­ter@Melis­saCarter

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