Tattoos and Other Really Bad Ideas

I am a pretty progressive guy. But I guess every non-progressive guy thinks that about himself.

Whether I consider myself progressive or conservative in my general approach towards life, I would like to think of myself first and foremost as a critical thinker; meaning every issue I face is examined on its own merits independently of the larger association to which it may belong. liberal

The artificial wall we have built between progressive and conservative is utter bullshit anyway…it is a fictitious concoction designed to keep us simultaneously interested and distracted while the rich and powerful keep us occupied with the Trayvon Martins and Paula Deens—not to mention Kim Kardashian’s ass—as they directly make their way to the bank, unimpeded by a distracted public. Does anything really change whether we have a Republican or Democrat president? Please. It is all bullshit.

But that is not the point of this blog so I am not sure why I just went there.

Damn Golden Snake.

If you were to talk to me about certain issues (i.e. legalization of drugs, immigration, LGBTQ rights) you would conclude I am a flaming liberal. Yet, if you were to talk to me about other issues (i.e. economics, welfare state, centrality of family) you would contend I am a John Birch right-winger—well, not really, though you get the point. I attempt to think critically and do not give a damn what political camp I might be identified with on any given issue…my only camp is Jimmy’s camp.

This being said, I would generally consider myself a liberal parent (whatever that means)…particularly in my kids’ latter years during which time I have really only had a few steadfast rules  (though I guess every conservative parent has said that as well). For example, one steadfast rule was that you can party your ass off IF, and this is a big IF, you take care of your responsibilities first. You know, like do your homework BEFORE you go out to play (such a dated example, I mean stay in and play Xbox).

The only two other areas that I actually had an opinion was that of smoking and tattoos—I cannot stand either.

Yes, crusty old Grandpa Jimmy (get on that my children, will you?), you know the one who loves singing bowls, drum circles and adrenaline rushes, has spoken.

No tattoosSmoking to me is a disgusting and sad habit. I have no judgment on those who do it— I simply decide to abstain from it myself….and just don’t blow that crap in my face.

The problem I have with tattoos—the point of this blog—is that they are permanent and if I know anything about myself and human nature, it is that we constantly evolve and change; hell, I will disagree with the first paragraph of this blog before I get to the last.  I know for certain that whatever “cool” tat I would ink on my ass or elsewhere will be uncool within a very short period of time –yet there it is, forever—probably not a wise choice to make a needless permanent decision over something that may hurt you as you move through life and will certainly NEVER help you.

So why do I care about tattoos? I really do not. Yes, I do think they are an unwise choice though if one decides to do something that can only possibly hurt oneself, why should I care? I don’t. If one wants to make a stupid, regretful, unwise decision that in no way can affect me…go for it. I will still love you. And I have lived long enough to know I could very well be wrong…perhaps in the near Hottie_Body_Jewelry_Tattoo_Artist_At_Workfuture I will be the unemployable one for having un-inked skin…who knows? Maybe that’s just wishful inking.

Yet my children are a different story. Ultimately, they fall in the same category as everyone else…free human beings with free wills to do whatever they choose with their bodies. Though weren’t we old farts (aka parents) placed in our position for a reason? We old folk were all once 18, 20, 25 and have lived some years on the planet and perhaps know something our children don’t. Of course this could make us either out of touch dinosaurs OR the wise sages; such a fine line between stupidity and brilliance.

A recent Forbes article suggests I may be the former as tattoos no longer carry the stigma they used to; employers really do not care.  In fact, I ran across quite a bit of information suggesting they are becoming socially acceptable. Yet employment is only a part of the anti-tattoo equation.TattooRegret_main_0523

The BBC reports “that research being presented at the British Association of Dermatologists’ conference this week suggests nearly one in three people regret tattoos.” Interestingly, more men have regret than women and often it depends where on the body…lower body tattoos tend to have less regret than upper body ones.

So what’s the big deal?

It’s really not…though it comes down to a general life philosophy: “Life is hard. Why do ANYTHING 384830_10150552481899186_1986457111_nvoluntarily in life that MAY make it harder?” It is the same reason yours truly cut off his beloved curly locks prior to his interview with the college. I doubt there was anyone on the interview committee who thought to herself, “We really need a surfer-looking dude with long hair teaching our communication classes.” The much likelier possibility would be the interviewer who looks negatively upon the “hippie” and harbors some inward, subtle prejudices. Why unnecessarily roll the dice on the latter? Off it went, received tenure track….and back it came.

Why risk regretting something the rest of your life over a voluntary activity? If we have that great a need for a fashion statement perhaps there are other issues we need to be looking at in our life.

Why risk having to pay thousands of dollars in numerous painful surgeries over something that did not have to be there in the first place?

indexWhy risk having to see something the rest of your life that you once thought was cool at 18? Hell, if I had decided to get a tat at that age, I would be spending the rest of my life staring at Robin and Maurice Gibb (really, BeeGees?), Farah Fawcett (yes, really) or Fonzie.fonzie

Is the small piece of skin art really worth it?

“Aaaaaayyyyyyyy!” I guess I really am conservative. Yet I do have both my ears pierced. Pretty progressive, huh? Oh, and if you do decide to get a tattoo, just make sure you are a woman who gets it somewhere on her lower body.








  1. the reason I don’t have more tattoo’s (yes I have 1) is the fact that they are permanent. Being an artist my style is always evolving and the stuff I did 20 years ago is very different to the art I create today.Unless they can come up with a tattoo ink that completely fades in a year or two the tattoo I have will remain an only child.

    • That is rare Craig and the reason they call them tatTOOS and not tatONES – as it is tough to get just one. I did not mention the addicting quality of the tattoo. I feel so bad for so many young kids today who are inking the hell out of there bodies, ugh.

      • its spelled tatTOO not tatTwo,…I had a friend back when I was in the navy who would get drunk on payday and then go get cartoons tattooed on his arms, they were so bad that you had to ask him who the cartoon was, you would think that would deter him from getting more…it didn’t. Also as you age your tattoos tend to fade or the colors run into each other…what may have started as a mermaid in time becomes a trout or a bass.

  2. Is it ok to agree and disagree?

    My thoughts:

    Agree: I agree with you because I remember growing up in the 90’s (yes 90’s, I know) and people were getting Tweety Bird tattoos, and tattoos of skulls with flames coming out their eyeballs… or whatever. I remember thinking, even as a kid, that these tattoos were really stupid. And coincidentally, many of these tattoos are the ones being painfully removed today. Tribal tattoos that are just “cool designs” or really any of the clip-art tattoos you can find in a shop are just horrible ideas. And I can’t imagine being an old person and trying to explain the poorly-done portrait of the late Jennifer Aniston to a grandchild. It would just be embarrassing.

    Disagree: I have three tattoos, all of which I cherish. The reason I love them is because they represent a small piece of who I am. They tell a bit of the story of where I come from, the things that are dear to me, and the spirit in which I strive to live my life. Now, to some this may seem juvenile and irresponsible, to others subversive. To me, it is incredibly personal and, honestly, quite beautiful. I appreciate the artwork I have chosen to make a permanent part of my life, and I don’t mind the thought of adding to my visual story in the years to come.

    • Cedric…that is the primary argument I get in favor of tattoos…getting more “sacred” art inked; like more mom and dad and less Fonzie. Though in terms of those segments of society that look down on tattoos (perhaps potential employers or casting agents), they could care less about your sacredness- a tat is tat and if the role you are auditioning for demands no tats (probably most I imagine) it really does not matter who or what is the content of your tattoo. I realize you can probably cover it up with make up, though is the pain in the ass of doing that every time really worth it? I would just rather paint a pic and put it on the wall. That being said, it is such a personal choice and if the downside to you is worth it, more power to you my friend! I guess it helps the economy as well in terms of employing tattoo artists and eventually supporting the laser removal industry 🙂

  3. Hello Jim

    I am really glad you posted something about tatto’s. I somewhat agree with you, yes getting a tat is something that is forever and you know what that’s a very good thing. Now hear me out I for one do not have any. Do I want one yes very much so. The only thing that is stoping me is I am not sure what. A tat should be special something that you look at everyday and think to yourself I am glad I did this. It ment to hold a very special meaning.

    Yes it may be cool to say, hey bro check it out I got the Blink-182 logo on my arm or having YOLO on your forehead. But stop and think to yourself will you be happy that you got it 20, or 30 years from now. My guess is no. Now think for a second about a person who put their mothers or father or someone who is very dear to them name on their arm. I would be willing to say that they will NEVER regret getting that done. And they never should, because they know its an amazing reason. I feel that anyone should get a tat just please please make sure it’s for the right reason. And make sure it’s done right. The last thing you want is a well ment tat to look like crap.

    • Paul…see my response to Ced above. It may mean a lot TO YOU though that does not change what it will mean to others. though, again, it is a personal choice and if the art means that much to you, go for it. Though you have been WARNED!! 😉

  4. After all these years, the following still sticks in my head…my mom on women and tattoos: ‘When you are old and in a nursing home, the attendants will say ‘YOU go sponge bath that nasty woman with the Rolling Stone lips on her boob and that horrible Tweety Bird near her crotch.’
    She also said, referring to the needle: ‘there are more pleasant things that should be going in and out of your body…less painful too.’
    And finally: ‘your freckles are nature’s perfect tattoos’
    Thanks, Mom!

  5. Diane…I can think of so many more pleasureable and less destructive vices. Mom is right – you should get that women tattooed on your forearm.

  6. I like to think I’m somewhat a rebel in my own ways. I like to challenge the norm for the sake of having a different perspective. I’ve wanted a tattoo for a long time now. It always goes back to my hometown and the memories I cherish so much and so deeply. At the same time, getting a tattoo for the same reason would be following the norm, because as I read the comments above I agreed with all. I do not have freckles, I do not and would not desire do tat my arm with a name. If I were to consider a tattoo it would be an artistic design I would create, given I live to paint and draw. At the end of the day I like to make a stand on what I cherish and am passionate about through my actions. It makes it funner. People remember you and you become someone your family will be proud of, the place where you come from. It’s so much better to be recognized by rebellious and well thought out acts of novelty, than a hidden tattoo you can only see for a cherished memory that will later on wrinkle.

    Tessa had a good point too though, (post on FB), “it’s just a body”, when you die you don’t take absolutely anything with you to the “after life”, if you believe in those things and are religious. ALL THAT BEING SAID, and after the golden snake, nothing makes a better statement of what you are and what you stand for than how you live your life through every action.

      • That was on Facebook weeks ago in her own little post. Not here, or about this blog. Sir, you are in the wrong social network.

        • On facebook weeks ago?? And I am on the wrong social network? I was curious because she is strangely silent as the one who inspired this blog.

  7. I think a Farah Fawcett tattoo is worth reconsidering. If i was an employer that would be a recommend. Thats just me though.

  8. I always wanted one but used the excuse of it looking bad when I got older. Now that I am older I am revisiting tatoos. I’ve decided to have one word tatooed on the inside of my wrist. Sorry Jimmy no lower body ink for this lady!! I have a few years to decide as I’m going to do it on the big 60. Some of my word choices are peace, relax and love but I can’t quite decide. Maybe I will just use THINK. Thank you for making me THINK about this subject once again.

    • None of said arguments apply to those of us simply running out the clock in the second half of life 🙂

  9. Well, I am a 24 year old female, with what some may consider “a lot” of tattoos, most of which are on my upper body. I started getting tattooed when I was 18 or 19, in easily-hidden places, as I was living at home and still not “allowed” to get tattoos…. My parents’ reasoning was similar to your own: concerns about my being able to get a job in the future, the permanency of a tattoo, the fact that a tattoo gotten today will be meaningless to me tomorrow, and lastly that when I’m old and wrinkly, tattoos are going to look really bad. I feel I should mention that my mom is a (now) retired prosecutor, and my dad quit school after high school, immediately went to Alaska to be a logger, and then did various jobs before (luckily) getting into the company in which he is now very successful. So, my parents took very different routes as far as careers are concerned, and I can say at least for my dad that he took his chances not going to college, compared to my mom who took every step to ensure her ability to provide for herself, in keeping with your argument.

    That being said, I have been a trail-blazing, free-spirit from the start. I’m not unconventional for the sake of being contrary (though I’ll admit that I do enjoy it), I just march to the beat of my own drum because that’s how its always been, and I wouldn’t want it to be any other way. As a result, I’m extremely self-aware… I knew at 18 what I still know now to be true: I’m not the type of person who is going to apply for a job where having a tattoo is a problem, and here’s why:

    One: I believe that what’s in your brain is more important than what’s on your body. I know I can make money at a job that is less restrictive or concerned about my personal looks, and a lot more concerned about what I can bring to the company as an employee. Am I capable? Am I driven? Am I intelligent? Am I qualified? These are questions which should dictate getting a job. My tattoos have nothing to do with my ability to perform a job. I’m a highly intelligent, hard-working, committed and capable young woman, so if a company disregards my qualifications on the basis that I “permanently” inked my [actually] temporary shell of skin, then really, its their loss. You mentioned the growing acceptance of tattoos in the workplace, and if I had to guess, I’d say that the emphasis on qualifications over personal appearance has contributed to this.

    You also mentioned that you cut your hair for the interview at the college, but then grew it back… is it that much different than my English professor (who has his entire right arm covered in colorful tattoos), who probably wore a long-sleeved shirt to his interview?

    Two: I’ve done my best to ensure that each tattoo I’ve gotten is timelessly powerful and meaningful to me. I’ll admit that there was a 6 month period (in the last 18 months) where I recognized and accepted that the placement of some of my tattoos… Well, they’re less than ideal, and I’m thinking mainly of my knuckles here. That being said, I still don’t regret a single tattoo, I’m only now the wiser on the actual placement. Still, every time I look at my tattoos, I am transported to particular times in my life where I learned really valuable and important lessons, and these tattoos serve as a reminder.

    Three: Sure, an employer doesn’t give a shit about the meaning behind my tattoos, but I do. They are incredibly meaningful to me, and serve as the physical commitment/contract that I made with myself to always, ALWAYS be true to myself, because ultimately, I am in charge of my destiny, not the stranger sitting behind a desk, and I truly believe that my drive and capability as a working woman will dictate my success, not the lack of, or multitude of tattoos on my body.

    • NO…though it was my way of saying I totally appreciated your deeper analysis. At my age I actually would be open to getting one though there is no art or symbol that means enough to me to do it. Ultimately the entire issue comes down to personal choice; and since my argument is basically a long term one whether I am correct or not in my point of view can only be determined over time. Your tats looks great BTW!

      • Aw thank you! 🙂 I really do love all of them… And I so appreciate the opportunity to debate with you! Now I need to sift through the rest of your posts and see if there’s anything else I can challenge 😉

  10. Jimmy, the problem I’m faced with your blog is I feel that we could never get over each other’s methods in arguments. You place too many cookie cutter, generalized statements in your arguments for my liking and I tend to focus on the exceptions making your point invalid in my mind. Such as your statement that non-progressive guys like to think they are progressive. I’m conservative and don’t want people to call me progressive. I could care less if someone calls me a bigot or closed minded. I know I am not and know that if you want to discuss a topic I disagree with, you will have my full attention and I’m hoping you really so prove me wrong that way I can evolve as a person. And as for tattoos, with the cool factor. Those that get tattoos because they think it is cool are fools in my eyes. Tattoos are meant for deep expressions and should have more meaning to you than you could describe to someone. I don’t currently have a tattoo but I REALLY liked what Mira said about employment and working for a company that cares more about what you have to offer over what you look like.
    In reference to your question ” why do ANYTHING in life that MAY make it harder?” I believe that we should try I make like easier on ourselves but living in fear of things to go wrong is like being afraid of dying. It’s inevitably going to happen so why live in fear of it? Obviously your conclusion to cut your hair to impress is warranted since the job would provide a living for you and support your family but a tattoo on your chest in rememberance of your grandfather, because he was the most influential man in your life and now is gone, is hardly what I consider a risk. I understand and respect your view but I have to say I disagree that getting a tattoo is bad idea. I think it CAN be a beautiful thing, on the skin of the right people who are doing it for the right reason. ~Steven Herschler

  11. To answer why? It is just another calculated risk. As you said in the comment section of your “Drunk” driving blog, we take calculated risks every day. And, is not the point of being 18, 19, 20, to do those stupid things and regret them forever? Because, when else can I drunkenly get a smiling Jesus wielding a lightsaber on my bicep? Yeah, people are going to judge me and call me an idiot and probably think less of me, but that is what these years is all about. The time of this new post adolescent young adult bullshit that has sprung up in this age is to figure out all of your shit (read party and procrastinate on taking responsibility) and making huge mistakes is the only way that some people are going to learn that getting drunk and letting your unlicensed friend who wants to be a tattoo artist go for it on your flesh canvas. It ain’t smart, but it is two things, a learning experience, and a great fucking story. Oh yeah, and Jesus with a fucking lightsaber, right?! All I am saying is that the view on them has changed, they aren’t really permanent any more and if you love something so much that you want to put it on your body, think about it for a year and if you really still want it, fuck it, do it.

    Strategies for smart tattooing
    1. Make sure it is something you want
    – Post it somewhere you will have to see it every day, if you still like seeing it on your mirror every morning and night for a year, chances are that you will want it for a bit longer, but on you.
    2. Get it somewhere inconspicuous.
    – ’nuff said
    3. Find a good artists
    – Research a tattoo artist
    – Find someone who’s work makes you cry it is so beautiful
    – Pay top dollar (it is going to be there forever right?
    – or else can happen, and it ain’t pretty

    Anyway, yeah, tattoos are probably dumb 90% of the time. But that’s kind of the point sometimes. I don’t have any, I want one, but I am not going to pick one until I find that perfect something that inspires me every time I look at it.

  12. A tattoo done in memory could actually increase the memory of that moment, person, or time in your life. It allows for a better remembrance of that time for the individual, the individual would be remembering that part of life that was turned into art on the body on a most likely common basis. It gives the person the opportunity to share that moment with other individuals, those close and not so close. It could also be used as an outlet to get over something in life or to remind the individual that something has been achieved and the capability is within that person. It doesn’t have to be desired and permanently inked on a body because it is beautiful or “cool” there are many aspects of tattoos that are a type of dedication to the meaning of that individuals life and they themselves are the canvas portraying that life in more then just the lines and wrinkles but the image. A much more open and much more meaningful statement, for some.

    As for the “cool” factor something that can make a person laugh, one of the best therapy’s we have at our disposal, can be appreciated as well throughout life. It can bring joy to sad moments both for the image itself and for the interactions it has created for the person throughout their life. The humor of one is guaranteed to be the humor of another and the public showing, as something as personal as your humor, has the potential to make connections and form bonds you may otherwise not have had.

    Misfortunes happen, yes it is true that people who get tattoos don’t always appreciate them forever. But for some they are a magical art always a part of the individual.

  13. As someone who has a lot of ink, I must disagree with you. I know this blog is a couple years old, but these days tattoos in the workplace is everywhere. I even see policemen & firemen with arms full of ink. The days of tattoo prejudice are nearly gone. I will admit that I have some regretful tattoos, but nothing is permanent these days…not even tattoos 🙂

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