Smile Politely

Tattoo Who?

My dad got a tattoo when he was in the Army and he always hated it. A couple of things, Dad was in the Army during peace time and he was stationed in Hawaii, so it’s not like he got a tattoo of a skull with a knife stuck through it or anything like that. From what I understand, pretty much all he did was work on tanks, play volleyball, and drink 3.2% beer. It would have been weird for him to get a tattoo of any of those things.

Instead, he and about five of his buddies all got a tattoo of the same skunk. Under this skunk was their particular nickname, basically Stinky #1 through #5. My dad was Stinky # 1, which I’m not sure is a good or bad thing. I can only imagine the drunken evening that lead up to five semi-grown men all agreeing to get that particular tattoo.

Either way, he always told me not to get a tattoo because I would regret it. I mean, I’m sure I would regret it if I got a skunk with an unflattering nickname under it, but that was probably a direction I wouldn’t be going anyway. Since he died last year, I decided to get a tattoo about him because, well, what better way to honor someone than to do something they said you shouldn’t do.


Here is my arm, one last time, before things got started. Notice that I’m holding a coffee in my other hand, you know, because I’m a moron. Just a tip, if you know you have to sit quietly for a couple of hours in a tattoo chair, be sure to get a big assed amount of caffeine pumping through your system, because you’ll want to be highly alert and aware of what’s going down.

I got my tattoo from Matt Diana at No Regrets right here in Champaign. He’s a swell guy and didn’t even seem to mind I was blazingly drunk when I made the appointment. Yeah, I know, I made an appointment. Honestly, I don’t know if there are even places you can just walk into and get a tattoo anymore. I even had to fill out a little questionnaire promising that I hadn’t drank or taken drugs in the last 24 hours. I didn’t have to lie, since I was sober for it. Me getting a tattoo sober, who would have thought?

So, the tattoo I decided to get was the logo the Cardinals used from 1929 to 1948. It’s a little more retro than the current logo and it was also what they were wearing when my Dad was born. I love the Cardinals, but I’m not really sure it’s “tattoo love” necessarily. I, of course, loved my dad in a tattoo sort of way, but just getting “Dad” on my arm would have felt like a bit trite.

Either way, baseball was something my dad and I would always talk about and I still think of him pretty much every time I watch a ballgame. In fact, many times it’s hard not to reach for my phone after a big play and call him. Unfortunately, my service plan doesn’t extend to those parts and even if it did, I’m sure the roaming charges would be exorbitant. In order to make it special, at least to me, I added the year he was born and the year I was born to the tattoo. The Cards won the World Series both of those years, which is sort of cool.


All of the planning was sort of fun, but getting the actual tattoo was whatever the opposite of fun is. I’ve never really enjoyed getting shots at the doctor and that’s just one needle going in once, so obviously, having a needle going in several times, over and fucking over again, made me a little nervous. I’m not really sure what I thought it was going to feel like; but whatever that was, it wasn’t what it actually felt like. It hurts, but it’s not an intense pain, just a constant pain that goes one for quite a while.

Obviously parts of it hurt worse than other parts. I’m sure it was hard to tell which parts really hurt since I began crying four hours before I went to the shop and only stopped crying about seven minutes ago. The thing is, once he got started, I was pretty much committed to the project unless I wanted my arm to look like a work in progress. Honestly, it wasn’t that bad, but I did develop a newfound respect for people who have tattoos all over their body. When we got finished, it looked like this.


Once it was over, I noticed after five or ten minutes that I was holding my arm straight out from my body, even as I was driving home. I am still not sure what this was about. It hurt a little bit that, but not as bad as I had feared. I was very conscious of it though, so sleeping was sort of a hit or miss proposition that first night.

The next morning it looked pretty cool and, though tingly, felt just fine. As the week went on it got a little sore here and there, but I put a lot of lotion on it. In fact, I’ve gone through more lotion in the past two weeks than I did in my entire sophomore year of high school, which, you know. I’m just now getting to the peeling and scabbing and itching portion of the ride. It’s a little tedious, but I can at least see most of the incident in my rearview mirror. Now my biggest obstacle is learning to adjust to looking super fucking cool all the goddamned time. Actually, I should be fine.


It’s funny because he’s sort of vacant, but it’s really funny that they just make fun of him afterwards. I often find it hilarious when people make fun of other people, you know, for being sort of stupid.


I’m considering asking my left hand if it would be interested in “swinging” with my right hand. I’m guessing the answer will be no.

The updated jukebox at Brass Rail is sort of awesome. There were about twelve songs on there for a time, but now you can get pretty much anything. Tearing up some Fu Manchu really made me smile.

I’ve mowed the yard once already. It turns out I don’t enjoy that much at all.

Buona sera, senorina, kiss me goodnight.

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