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"Public" Ink

Do not pity me. I'm not looking for a compassionate shoulder to cry on. This is not a "woe is me" story. The choice to "adjust" my appearance was mine alone and I made it. This is simply a rant on the ignorance, poor manners, and malicious nature of the general populous of this country.

I have, throughout my life, made the assertion and wholly believed that, the ink in my skin is simply and specifically for me. My tattoos are not put there as a fad or passing fancy, all of it is my own artwork, and each piece has a meaning and a story. Every piece marks a moment of my own personal history and was never done to be a public display of my ideology or an outward display of aggression, pride, or anything else for that matter.

I am a 35-year-old white male. I am highly educated. I am well groomed and well dressed. I work two jobs in order to afford play-time that most people can only dream of. I have a wonderful home with a woman who loves me. I am not from a broken home. I was not beaten or abused as a child. I am not an addict of any sort, I don't even drink to excess. I have no criminal record. I do not prey upon the weak or upon children. I am not a deviant or a pervert. I am not morally or spiritually bankrupt. I am a tax-paying member of the upper middle class who votes. For all you know I could be your neighbor, your tax accountant, you son/daughters Sunday school teacher, or the guy next to you at the service station pumping gas. I am just some guy living a happy, well-adjusted fairly uneventful life.

That is up until a month or so ago.

A little over a month ago I had my forearms tattooed. And suddenly, it seems as if I have become public enemy number one. The general public, suddenly, is quite interested in me. Not the people that I have worked with or my family, or anyone else who actually knows me, they are all very accepting and intrigued by my transformation. I'm speaking of perfect strangers, people on the street, in shopping malls, restaurants, the gym, even the doctor's office, and especially THE POLICE.

Does my being marked give you the right to invade my privacy? Does my being marked suddenly change my social status. Evidently the answer to those questions is a resounding YES.

So I have a couple questions for you, the ignoramus of the east coast. Do you approach overweight people on the street, poke them in the belly and say, "Boy you're fat, you must have some type of eating disorder." or "Aren't you unhappy being that big?". Would you ever fathom approaching the woman at the local health club with large breasts squeezing one of them and ask her, "Are they real?" or "What do your children think of them?". As a police officer, wouldn't your time be better spent ticketing the dimwit driving the overpriced luxury SUV (while chatting on the phone and yelling at her kids in the back seat), for ignoring traffic patterns and almost hitting a motorcyclist?

NO?!?

Why then is it acceptable in your mind to accost me (rudely none the less) in the grocery store checkout line and quiz me about my life and my body? Why do you pull your children closer to you as you walk past me on the street as if I were going to snatch them from you and consume them on the spot, or point and blatantly speak of my appearance from across a crowded restaurant? Are you so insecure with your own body/life that you must vilify others? Is your world so dull and/or are you so fearful of non-acceptance that you must live vicariously through the self-actualization of others? What is it that you fear? ...others that are different? ...the stereotypes perpetuated by the narrow-minded?

Take a moment and "THINK!" Can you look in the mirror and like what you see? Is your self-image dictated by societal constrains and mass marketed "norms"? Does your need to "fit in" rule your existence? Are you living someone else's life or trying to fulfill someone else's dreams? Unless you have valid answers to these questions do not presume to judge my appearance and my choices.

Yes it has only been a month, and NO! I DO NOT regret my decision to enter into the publicly inked world. Yes, the rudeness of the ill informed annoys and sometimes even frightens me.

My new found public fame, or infamy as it may be, does afford me the opportunity to educate. I find myself talking to my stepson's friends (15-17 yr olds) actually asking more questions of them then they of me. Teaching them that it OK to be/feel different, forcing them to re-evaluate why they want to alter their bodies. All of them have removed at least one piercing in the last month because they sat down and thought about why they pierced it in the first place. No more fads for them. I have spoken to a kindergarten class (my nephews class – I was his show and tell) about acceptance of people that are different. Completely freaked out the teacher, but the kids loved it and actually understood. Imagine, a whole generation, if taught properly, that doesn't hate.

End of Rant...

I have but one caveat to this nonsensical rant.

To the "Soccer Moms" - silly, small minded, tight assed, suburban, self-righteous homophobic scourge. With utter revulsion on their overly made up middle-aged Zoloft gulping faces, they hustle little Tyler or Brittany or Tucker or whatever white-bread uber-child named little automaton back into the Grand Caravan saving them from the likes of me "THE MARKED" when the one you need to fear are preaching from your pulpits, teaching tee ball to Brandon and chaperoning little Ashley's* brownie troop. Hate is taught! Hate of others, and hate of self is taught by your narrow-mindedness. YOU are destroying your childrens lives by teaching them, in word and action, to HATE. Just because you hate yourself does not mean you children should too.

    • the names are picked from a most popular name list (2000)

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 17 July 2002
in Ritual

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Location: East+Coast+U.S.

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