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Skin deep

Don’t tell my wife, but I’m thinking about getting a tattoo.

Not a big, gaudy, ostentatious tattoo, mind you, but more of a subtle, delicate piece of body art. Something that will inspire myself and others, whenever they see it. Something that will commemorate an important time in my life. A beautiful display of artwork, full of meaning, that will adorn my body for the rest of my life.

But it can’t be a real one because it looks like they hurt. (Just in case I haven’t mentioned this before, I’m a wuss.) No, I’m thinking more of one of those rub-on tattoos like you used to be able to find in boxes of Cracker Jack. At least that’s what I plan to start out with to see how well I like tattoos before anybody comes at me with a needle.

I’m really not a tattoo kind of guy, but it seems like everybody has one anymore; and I’m going to need one or two just to keep up. My son has a buddy that’s getting a fairly substantial back, shoulder and chest tattoo. He has another friend that has full sleeves of “tats” that cover both arms, from his wrists up to his armpits. These are both kids who I served cake and Hawaiian Punch to at my son’s sixth birthday party.

It seems like tattoos are the popular thing right now. Everybody has them. It used to be that when I thought of tattoos, big, burly bikers, rough and tumble military guys, and death-row inmates came to mind. Now my nieces have them.

I don’t have anything against tattoos, and as an art form, I’ve witnessed some pretty amazing stuff. But I would implore anyone thinking about illustrating their body, to put some serious thought into it. People need to really plan ahead when they’re considering a tattoo. What looks good today might not look so hot when you’re sitting around the retirement home someday. Loose skin is the curse of the tattoo artist.

Also, you need to think of how this form of permanent artwork fits your personality and body style. When I was a kid, there was an episode of Gomer Pyle that featured a guy with a tattoo. One of Gomer’s buddies had a hula girl tattoo that he could make dance just by flexing his bicep. All the marines in the barracks were mesmerized by the epidermic ballet, even Sergeant Carter. At one time, I thought it would be kind of cool to get a tattoo that could dance, move or do stuff. However, since my biceps mysteriously disappeared sometime shortly after college, the hula girl is out.

I could get a tattoo of a cartoon character like Mighty Mouse or Yosemite Sam or Calvin urinating on some kind of car company logo, but there would be just way too much explaining it later on in life.

I could get my wife’s name imprinted over my heart, but knowing my luck, there would be a spelling mistake, and that would involve even more explanation later on in life.

Maybe I’ll get one of those nice butterfly tattoos on my lower back, so that when I bend over to work on our plumbing, the people assisting me will have something to look at other than my, well … uh … oh, you know. The place where the sun doesn’t shine and a butterfly could not possibly survive.

I might get the American flag tattooed on the bottom side of my upper arms. As I age, and my upper arm fat begins to sag lower and lower, I will become increasingly popular on patriotic holidays. People will encourage me to stand outside shirtless, with my arms extended, just to see Old Glory flap in the breeze.

But that’s a few years down the road. Until then, I think I’m going to pursue the rub-on idea. I recently inventoried my daughter’s rub-on tattoo collection to get an idea of what I want to go with. It’s down to either the unicorn with the rainbow or Hello Kitty.

I hope I don’t go through too much pain when I get my new tattoo. Sometimes you have to rub pretty hard.

You can contact Wallace at gwallace@bcrnews.com. You can follow him on his blog at http://gregwallaceink.wordpress.com.

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