Not getting a tattoo

I got my left earlobe pierced at a house party when I was 16. I was drunk on cheap cider when a girl with long curly blonde hair told me I’d look good with an earring. Despite my alcohol-induced nausea and a general dislike of being stabbed with needles, I said ‘yes.’

I mean, what other answer could I give?

She picked a potato from a bohalved potato. She put the potato half behind my ear —presumably to minimize the chances of pithing me like a laboratory frog — and using a darning needle she took out of her lapel, she punched a hole in my earlobe. Then she then took a large gold hoop out of her own ear and threaded it through my bloodied, throbbing ear.

Next day my ear lobe was the color of a baboon’s butt and oozing pus. Turns out potatoes are not sterile. But, I wore the infection and the cheap, gold-plated hoop earring with pride. In my high school days, a pierced ear was still unusual — so, my pierced-ear instantly elevated my status to borderline-cool. Even if I only looked like David Essex when viewed through a steamy bathroom window.

Time passed, and I cycled through a number of different earring styles: faux diamond studs, black ceramic dots, silver balls. But, once my hair started to turn grey and I accepted my pot-belly wasn’t just for Xmas, I knew it was time to take the earring out, and never put it back in.

I was afraid I was on the path to becoming seriously sad. I mean, once a man gets past a certain age, earrings and pony-tails are wrong, unless you are a pirate, or earn your a living as a Steven Segal impersonator.

None of which is anything to do with me regretting not getting a tattoo. But, it’s important background.

For a long time I’ve wanted a memento mori. Specifically, a Mexican sugar skull inked on the inside of my left arm: to remind me life is short. Too short to get upset about other people’s bad driving habits, poor service in restaurants, and the myriad of other First World Problems than bug me.

But, here’s the rub — I thought about it for too long.

Fresh ink is not going to make me look like a gypsy, or a cage fighter, or get me back being borderline cool.

A brand new tattoo will register as a clear sign I’m having a mid-life crisis, at least in the mind of anyone sensible.

Perhaps I’ll stop bothering what people might think, and just get it done. But, then again . . . A couple of months ago, I seen a guy with a ‘tramp stamp’ tattoo in the small of his back. The fact that it was some kind of military insignia didn’t stop it from being a horror show.

My fantasy tattoo is certainly no where near as bad, but still.

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