Tattoo you

8 05 2012

It was ten or fifteen years ago when I thought, Huh, mebbe I’ll get a tattoo.

I wasn’t sure why I thought that—something to do, I guess—and whatever I got, I wanted it to mean something to me. I don’t want to get a tattoo just to get a tattoo, y’know? I told a friend.

Except it’s tough to see why one would get a tattoo other than that one wanted to get a tattoo.

Anyway, the thought passed in and around my mind but I was never able to settle on a particular design. While I was in dissertation mode I thought maybe a mock-up of DNA, but then I remembered that I’m not a genetic reductionist so, no, maybe not.

I didn’t need a tattoo, and was fine with never getting one, so I didn’t really have any other thoughts beyond Eh, no rush.

But about a year ago I got to thinking about writing and human history and oh hey what’s the oldest know written language and wouldn’t that be kinda cool to have whatzit oh yeah cuneiform. Akkadian or Sumerian?

Ah, Sumerian: it was the oldest.

Okay, Sumerian cuneiform: check. Now, what did I want it to say?

That took another while, and then when I figured that out, hi ho hi ho the online search I go and there (after some research and triple-checking is-this-really-what-it-is) it is.

Upshot: ten or fifteen years after first thinking I might get a tattoo, I got a tattoo.

And then two weeks after that, I got another one.

Both can be visible—they’re on my inner forearms—but I didn’t get them for (or against) anyone else’s viewing pleasure; I got them for me.

I don’t know about others’ relationships to their tattoos, but I look at mine and it seems to me a kind of claiming of my self. I still have too many moments where I can’t believe my life is real, and mine, and if these tats don’t make it any more real, they do at least signify that yes, this life is mine.

However absurd it may be.