It took me over 50 years to figure out what I wanted for my first tattoo. I think the biggest obstacles I had was finding something that I not only cared about enough to have permanently printed on me but something that I also felt I wanted to broadcast out to the world.. or at least to everyone who saw the tattoo.
After my son got out of motorcycle school, it seemed like the first long-ish ride we went on would be the ideal occasion to get that first ink. With a deadline looming, I was forced into actively making a decision. This ride would take us to the Barber Motorsports Museum outside of Birmingham, AL. We'd swing by the Rocket and Space Museum in Huntsville, AL on our way to Nashville. In Nashville, we would get tattoos at the Black 13 shop. mine was going to be done by Josh Woods himself. Josh is an amazing artist. Talented enough to compete on Ink Masters.
That ride culminated with a visit to the Jack Daniels distillery, where I re-affirmed that I am not a whiskey drinker. But it was an interesting tour and an absolutely beautiful ride through that part of Tennessee. All in all, it was a grand adventure.
They say that you can become addicted to getting tattooed. As I sat there looking out the window and picturing Josh peeling the skin off my arm, I decided it wasn't all that bad but I couldn't see myself getting addicted to it. Now, don't get me wrong. I wasn't sitting there screaming as though I was giving birth to a basketball, like I saw on more than one YouTube video I watched before going. I never shed a tear, contrary to my son's constant heckling. Oh yes! He was, indeed, watching closely for the big payoff. And had I teared up for any reason, there would be no blaming it on pollen or dust or anything. And I would certainly still be hearing about it. But I remember thinking that, if I were to do it again.. and I likely would.. it would be a very deliberate decision for another piece that was just that special thing. I wouldn't be doing it because I'm drawn to the experience. That said, my Yosemite Sam on a motorcycle couldn't be more perfect. Josh did an outstanding job and I love it like it's a part of me. In some unspeakable way, I identify with it... beyond the motorcycle thing. I'm not sure what that means but there it is.
For a few years, I've been talking about getting Serenity from the Firefly series (and Serenity movie) put on. While the series has been off the air for about 15 years, most fans are still as passionate about it today as they were when it was on. Maybe more so. Just an insanely loyal following for a show that ran for one season. If you have never seen it, I recommend it. I don't think I'm giving away any spoilers when I say there are elements of independence and rebellion interwoven throughout the show. There are also plenty of "good guys" (and girls) who may be just a little rogue but trying to do the right thing, get by and outrun the powers that be. In a very speakable way, I identify with it.. as do all the other die-hard fans. Sure, it's just a TV show. But it's more about the sentiment. And that sentiment is something I would love to carry with me. I know the image I want. I even talked to the artist I want to do it.. about a year ago. But I suspect it's going to cost a little more coin than I usually have. <sigh> Eventually.
With a trip to Key West coming up, I'm more than a little torn. I've been trying to work this trip out for a year and a half. I have high expectations and I'm a little concerned that my anticipation has inflated my expectations beyond reality. Now that it looks like it's just around the corner, it feels like an "event". Of course, the idea of a commemorative tattoo has come up. Maybe a conch on my chest? On the other hand, Key West is really only two states away. It'll be a great vacation. It'll be a chance to put together some words and video... maybe get a couple photos. But it's hardly a ride across the country. Part of me says it's not really that epic travel of significant memory that warrants a tattoo. I mean.. if I got inked every time I went somewhere, I'd have to gain weight just to have enough skin estate. Then I'd have to get a bigger bike. Mmmm. I don't really want it to come to that.
We'll see. If I come back with a new tattoo, I'd be willing to bet it'll be one of those stories that goes like, "So we were sitting at the bar and talking... blah blah blah.. dare.. blah blah.. and I woke up with this tattoo!" and gets more interesting and/or embarrassing from there.