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My Third Tattoo Story

February 27, 199, I went to American Skin Art (in North Tonawanda, New York) to get a tattoo along with one of my friends and my girlfriend. It was my third tattoo, and I decided to get a Star of David on the face of my right shoulder, filled in to resemble deep space. I got my first two tattoos at the same shop, both within the previous year, and I really trusted the environment. The shop is clean, friendly, well decorated, and comfortable. My friend (Jay), his girlfriend (Meghan), and I arrived at the shop on Friday at 1:00 PM, which is when it opens. We wanted to be there as early as possible, because we didn't have appointments and didn't want to wait for hours for the artists who do walk-ins.

First off, Meghan got the 18-guage captive bead ring (CBR) in her lower lip changed, and then we had to wait a while for one of the walk-in artists because we were not the only ones who had planned on being there early.

At about 3:00 or so, my girlfriend (Christina) showed up. We had planned on meeting her there and I wanted to wait to get my tattoo so that I could be with her while she got hers done (it was her first and she was worried). Cheape was the first artist free, so he took Christina to his little booth, and the small yellow rose that resulted looked great (it has since faded a lot and didn't heal very well, but she's planning on getting it touched up soon). When Cheape was doing the outline, she got really lightheaded and asked him to stop for a while, but after a few minutes she felt fine and let Cheape without another incident. While she was being inked, I put my name on the list and only one person was ahead of me, so I knew I wouldn't have to wait much longer.

Finally, at about 5:00 or so, it was my turn. Bob was the next artist free and so should have done me (he did my second tattoo, a blue Celtic triquetra on my left shoulder blade, a few months earlier), but there were people waiting just for him, so he asked me to wait until Cheape was done. Cheape was just doing some touch-up work on Jay's wristband (Cheape had inked it on about a month earlier), so I said it would be no problem. Hey, I had waited that long already, right? Anyway, in a few minutes, Bill came out because he was free, so I went with him instead. Bill had done my first tattoo the previous summer, which is a crown of thorns armband around my upper right arm. I gave Bill my rough design and waited for him to draw it up, which only took a few minutes because I told him he could just free-hand the outer-space stuff. After we had decided on a size and location, he took me back to his booth and prepared the area by cleaning up and covering everything with plastic (the chair, the table, etc.) He wore latex gloves the entire time (changing them often) and set up his colors, needles, green soap, etc. He cleaned and shaved the area on my shoulder and then placed the stencil, which was perfect on the first try.

First, he outlined the star, which is segmented into six parts, which only hurt for a little while. I guess after a few minutes, my endorphins kicked in to help with the pain, but I know that the placement on my outer arm played a part, too. He freehanded the outlines for a bunch of little stars and comets and stuff inside the star, and then changed needles to do the black fill-in work. That hurt a little more than the outline at first, but then I swear I didn't even feel him doing it. It was just like being massaged. When he finished with the black fill-in, he used every color in the spectrum to fill in the stars and comets, which I must say look amazing. I kept getting compliments from my friends, who were watching from the waiting room through a little window, and I still think it's my best tattoo. After he was done with the star, Bill asked me if I wanted to get my crown of thorns touched up. As I said before, he was one who inked it on the previous summer, and he still remembered me from that visit (and from being in the shop to get my second one). I of course said yes, because the crown hadn't healed very well (I just don't think I have good skin for tattoos) and I wanted to improve it. He did almost the whole thing over again to make the colors darker than they had been and didn't charge me a cent for it! (All the artists there are really good about that kind of thing). Since the crown extends all the way around the upper part of my right biceps, the inked area is very close to my armpit. That hurt a lot to get tattooed the first time, and even more the second time for some reason. It really killed, but it looks great now.

When Bill was done, the new tattoo and the old tattoo right next to each other looked great. Bill bandaged me up and went over the cleaning procedures again (I already knew them by heart), and then I was done. My whole upper arm was sore and felt kind of stiff, but I was really excited about it. I now had/have THREE tattoos! I love tattoos and I plan to not stop getting them until I have a semi-full body suit (both sleeves, back, torso, and lower legs). I also plan to get only Christian related tattoos, as I am a practicing born-again Christian (a rather liberal one, though). It just goes to show you that being tattooed doesn't mean that you're necessarily a moral delinquent.

Before I left the shop, I got my tongue pierced on a whim, but that's another story.

Now, it's the middle of May, and my Star of David needs a little touch-up work, but I still love it and it still looks great!

Josh Strasburg Niagara Falls, NY May 18, 1999

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 15 June 1999
in Tattoos

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