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My current & future tattoos

by John on April 13th, 2011

I still remember my very first “real” job interview. It was for the .com startup in Baltimore – the guy who I’d actually be reporting to was sick and out of the office for my interview, but a peer of his sat down with me. We talked for a few hours, I met some of the technical team, a few of us went out to lunch, and Alan told me that he’d be giving a high recommendation to hire me. At that point, we started talking about the dress code . . . this was the absolute height of the .com bubble, and it wasn’t really uncommon for tech offices to have a “whatever” dress-code policy. At Alan’s last job, developers wore shorts & flip-flops, which I admitted might be kind of nice. But, at the same time, how would you be able to differentiate between work & not-work? (little did I know of the strategy Google would take to get their employees to live at the offices).

The conversation went onto “body decoration,” and how Alan, a 50 year old man, was completely caught off guard that he was talking to a 20-something developer who didn’t have facial piercings & obvious tattoos. I mentioned that I really thought piercings & tattoos were great, but that people didn’t think enough about them. If I had something really important, I’d consider getting it permanently imprinted on my body – but, well, I was only 21 years old and I didn’t have anything in my life quite that important.

Sure, graduating college was pretty damn cool, but it felt like what I was “supposed to do,” and not quite an accomplishment. In the years to follow, I’d admired the tattooed, but never joined their ranks.

Fast forward 10 years.

Getting InkedIn 2008, I considered myself a cyclist. I started bicycling to work, I completed countless charity events requiring me to travel between 60 and 120 miles. In 2009, I cycled 5,000 miles. I was pretty damn proud of myself. I got a tattoo.

Getting InkedThe tattoo took two sittings and several hours – it’s a bicycle chain wrapping around and cutting into my right calf….as if the chain is a part of me. Cycling is in my blood. It’s a reminder that, if I’m just sitting around watching TV & eating nachos (my definition of a good day), maybe I should be out biking, instead.

Now, for some of you, I’m sure two questions are coming to the surface.

  1. Aren’t you Daddy Runs a Lot? What’s this about cycling?

    Before I started running, I caught the cycling bug, and I still have it. The issue is that, if you want to get a good cycling workout and be safe, you need several hours and good weather. As a father of two little kids, the odds of having a few spare hours and it not to be actively raining/snowing/blustering outside are quite long. Now that I’m running, I’m seeing how much easier it is to be a runner. However much time I have, I can run and make it worth it. If something happens in the middle of a run, well, most of the time, I’m never more than a few miles from my house. It really wouldn’t be uncommon for me to be 40-50 miles away from home in the middle of a bike ride.

  2. What’s wrong with sitting around, watching TV, and eating nachos?

    Absolutely nothing – in fact, I need a lot more time just “being.” But, I don’t allow myself to do that much. The problem is, if I let myself rest too much, I’ll slide from the workout routine. It’s the inner fat kid in me.

My leg tattoo from the front

So, why am I writing all of this? Well, I’m designing my next tattoo. I’m really getting the itch for my next bit of ink (and, that’s kind of funny, because as I remember, tattoos itch like hell as they heal). This one will be for my kids – a sleeve on my left arm. I’ve written a song for each child (well, I’ve written melodies & chords for each kid . . . still working on the lyrics, and you better believe I’ll be vlogging these songs in the near future), so I’ll have staves placed like ribbons, the melodies shown. There will be a Phoenix for my baby boy, and a Thunderbird for my baby girl (explanations coming soon). There will be some white space, just so that we might add things if events in my children’s lives warrant an absolute addition.
The tattoo and my organ

What’s interesting about this one is that, unlike my current body art (a tattoo & a piercing), I’m not going to be able to hide it. I could wear long sleeves all of the time – but I’m way too “warm blooded” to make that work. Looking at this, knowing it’s likely going to happen (probably right after I get back from the two trips I’m taking this summer), I often wonder what Alan would think about me – no longer a 21 year old kid fresh out of college, but a 33 year old father of two, well-established in his career, looking at expanding his body art collection.

Three Gore Points

So, what body art do you have? What do you want? What do think of it? In this modern day & age, would you hire/not hire somebody based on a piercing or tattoo? What should I add to my sleeve?

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8 Comments
  1. I love hearing stories behind the ink. To me, it’s as fascniating and personal as why parents choose certain names for their children, or how we choose the readings and music for the special celebrations in our lives. It is a (mostly) public interpretation of very, very private things.

    But where were we? Oh, right. Talking about boobs…

    I designed a tattoo for myself about 15 years ago – and yet, you will find it nowhere on my body. What am I waiting for? I have no idea. But, I think about it almost every day. Hmmmm….

    • Lelly? We at least need to see that tattoo design . . . where would it be on your body? What is it? If you’re thinking about it almost every day for 15 years? It needs to be investigated.

      Check out / find a tattoo parlor. Ask to talk to the artists, ask to see the cleaning equipment. Find a place you like – you’ll soon find that you don’t leave yourself any option but to get it.

  2. Second Lelly – I absolutely adore hearing tattoo stories. And your tattoo is so meaningful, especially the one you plan on getting. I can’t wait to hear/see more!

    • I’m a firm believer in the #twitterRule that pictures of all haircuts, piercings (if pics can be posted, ahem), and tattoos must be posted as soon as prudent.

  3. First of all, thanks for adding my link, wow! I’m sure Mads would pose for a gratuitous boob shot 🙂

    I love the bike chain and can’t wait for the vlog. I’m tattoo free because I had my one and only panic attack in a tattoo parlor. I think it was because I had not thought the whole thing through. Yours though means something which is awesome. I was going to get a tramp stamp of a Poppy. In the 90’s that would have been redundant.

  4. I’ve wanted ink since I was sixteen.

    Eighteen years, and I still haven’t done it. I want the ram zodiac symbol tangled in sweet pea vines, no color.

    But where?

    It feel like it’s hard not to be either a trampy clichĂ© or have it completely hidden.

    Sigh.

    • Hmmm – where is such a big thing. I totally understand the “want it somewhere that I can see it” versus the “don’t want it super obvious so that it’s like I’m calling attention to myself.” So many people do things on their back, and it just seems to be a waste – I want a tattoo where I can pull it out, look at it, and explain it on a moment’s notice.

      I know that the upper thigh, firmly between the hip & knee is becoming a more popular tattoo location. It’s “out of the way” enough that most clothing, aside from a bathing suit, will cover it – but there enough so that you can show it off without exposing more than you’d want to.

      And I <3 black & white tattoos (mine will always be mostly black & white, with accents in color – the gore to the bicycle chain being it so far).

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