So, we’re driving along, going somewhere or coming back from somewhere, when apropos of nothing, K-Mac says “How come you never got a tattoo?”
Wow. After 45 years of marriage, you sort of take for granted that you know everything there is to know about your sweetie pie. Things like tattoo probability are usually dealt with in what lawyers call the discovery phase—race car drivers call it the endurance trials—between falling in love and getting married.
Admit it, we’ve all had or have an invisible checklist with tiny boxes to be checked off sometime between the first date and the moment that first handful of rice hits you in the eye.
•Do you clip your toenails on a regular basis? Yes□ No□
•Do you make rude noises on a regular basis? Yes□ No□
•Do you park your truck on the front lawn on a regular basis? Yes□ No□
•Do you ever sleep in your clothes on the kitchen floor? Yes□ No□
•Do you ever sleep nude on the kitchen floor? Yes□ No□
•Any other floors? Yes□ No□
•Did that awful sound just come from you? Yes□ No□ Swear to God.□
•Are you a harpy? Yes□ No□
•Do you know how to cook stuff besides raisin bran? Yes□ No□
•Do you know the difference between a really expensive piece of jewelry and a Cracker Jack charm? Yes□ No□
•Do you have or will you ever get a tattoo on visible and/or secret parts of your body? Yes□ No□
•Are they the secret parts I’m thinking of? Yes□ No□
•Has anyone besides you and the tattoo bozo ever seen these secret-parts tattoos? Yes□ No□ Who wants to know? □
•Mind if I take a peek? Yes□ No□
The wrong answer to any of these questions can kill a relationship or at least guarantee that your Christmas and birthday gifts from that moment on will consist of stuff like toe nail clippers, Beano, large bags of grass seed, Rachel Ray’s Cooking With Extra Virgin Pennzoil, and a full color map of Secret Tattoo Placements of the Stars.
So, back to K-Mac’s tattoo question. I have many reservations about tattoos in principle—It would hurt. What if the tattoo guy misspelled banjo? I might be mistaken for Mike Tyson. My body is a temple. I would have to get in fistfights in bars. I’d end up hanging with Ted Nugent. The body part that got tattooed would fall off.
But down deep I always knew that none of those objections outweighed the one indelible truth: I never got a tattoo because my mother would have guilted me into a home. I can hear her saying “You’ve broken my heart. And your father is so disappointed in you. The dog doesn’t even like you anymore.” My father would have cleared his throat and said “Those things don’t come off, you know.”
“Oh, I don’t know,” I replied to K-Mac. “Just never felt like a tattoo, I guess.”
But I do know. How could I ever forget? It’s tattooed on my soul.
And yes, it hurt.
©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2014, all rights reserved.