The Jasper Chronicles

The Journal of a Cynical Dad

Friday, June 22, 2007

Paint My Wagon

On Sunday we took The Boy swimming. He loves swimming. This post isn't about swimming though.

When The Boy isn't busy trying to drown himself, P and I get a chance to kick back in the piss-warm water and do a little people watching. The pool is a great place to people watch, those thin pieces of spandex and nylon hide nothing, and it's outright fascinating watching how people with body image issues deal with it. (For the record, I am the Antithesis Adonis. I turn heads at the pool, but for the wrong reasons.)

While The Boy was merrily playing in the shallow end, P spotted a man with four frog tattoos across his shoulders. Frogs are not exactly the sort of thing I would consider good tattoo fodder. Aren't tattoos supposed to send some sort of message about the person? What they believe in, what they're proud of, or how cool they want you think they are? What do four frogs say about this guy, that he likes frogs? He's part of a frog appreciation club? His nickname is Frog? I guess I could have asked him, but those frogs looked menacing, so I chickened out (I should also mention I am the Antithesis Charles Atlas).

While P and I were discussing Frog-man from a safe distance, the subject of The Boy came up, and whether we would stop him from getting a tattoo. I'd probably try to discourage him, but in the end, as long as he discusses it with us, makes the decision with a clear mind and gets it done professionally, I would probably, begrudgingly, let him.

So Boy, if you're reading this, this post does not constitute permission. Before you go running off to the tattoo parlour, there are some basic ground rules:

1) You've got to be old enough. Your mom and I haven't decided what that age is yet, but it's older than right now.

2) Get it done right. Go to a licensed parlour and make sure the person is a great artist. Half-decent artist won't cut it, a tattoo is a long-term commitment. So if your guitar-welding praying mantas ends up looking like Jiminy Cricket with a ukulele, you're stuck with it.

3) Whatever the design, it has to be tasteful. In other words, don't get a hand print across your face, or "Fuck the Establishment" tattooed on your forehead, that will seriously limit your career options beyond being, maybe, a tattoo artist. And even then I'm not sure how many customers you'd have, because a good tattoo artist has, you know, good tattoos.

4) Don't get someone's name tattooed onto your body. Teenage love is fleeting, remember that.

5) A few other things that would make bad tattoos:
  • Duck-billed Platypus
  • Mayor McCheese
  • Stock quotes
  • A Bundt cake
  • Secret formula to end world hunger, because you totally know evil scientists will chase after you if you do this.