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Mike Redmond Column

Please refer to the Mike Redmond Column main page for columns published in other issues.
Mike can be contacted via e-mail at mike@mikeredmondonline.com.

 

 

 

 Tattoos Can Sometimes Say Wrong Thing

I love Celebrity Oopses, and a good one comes from actress Hayden Panettiere, who got a new tattoo that says, "vivere senza rimipianti," which is supposed to be Italian for "to live without regret."

Turns out the word she wanted is rimpianti.

Oops.

Well, there’s a regret for you, Hayden.

You have to be careful when somebody is putting ink into your skin. If the tattoo guy makes a mistake, it’s not like he can just scratch it out and move on. Although I’ve seen a few tattoos that looked as if that’s exactly what happened.

I don’t mind tattoos. I’d better not, seeing as how I have my share. I have seen a few tattoos, however, that I thought were bad ideas.

Kanji characters, for example. You see people walking around with Japanese or Chinese calligraphy going up their arms, across their shoulders or down their legs, and they always have a translation ready, too - usually something along the lines of "wisdom and courage, illuminated by intelligence, cannot be defeated," or "persistence is like the water wearing down the rock" or something else they learned from a kung fu movie.

Or so they think. After all, they’re just taking the word of the guy who put the ink in their skin. Unless we read the language, we’re in the dark. It might just as well say "Try our mouth-watering General Tso’s Chicken" or "Communism is at once a complete system of proletarian ideology and a new social system - Chairman Mao, 1940," or "Look At What This Idiot Wanted Me To Tattoo On His Leg."

But you know, dopey tattoos don’t come in just Italian and Chinese. I saw a photo of one the other day where a guy’s arm proclaimed him to be "Dangerus." Not at a spelling bee, he isn’t.

Tattoos are like real estate - the most important things are location, location and location. Arms are good. Shoulders are good. Other places ... not so much.

Neck tattoos just don’t seem like a good idea at all. Saw a guy once with a screed about freedom going from his chin to his chest. The problem was, he was about 65 and by all appearances had lived a pretty hard life, so the letters were getting kind of blurred - wrinkly and jumpy-looking, like he had applied them himself with a mirror, a Sharpie and a safety pin. Which, I must concede, is entirely possible.

I heard of another guy whose entire forehead was tattooed with the words "Harley Davidson." Enough said. Although it is a memorable expression of brand loyalty.

Then there’s almost exclusively female small-of-the-back tattoo. They don’t call it the Tramp Stamp for nothing. Or how about rainbows and clovers and unicorns down around the ankle? It’s like they got their ideas from a box of Lucky Charms.

It’s funny. Tattoos used to be something that set a person apart, that marked him or her as a rebel. They still have that cachet, which strikes me as odd. How can millions upon millions of people be rebels if they’ve all done the same thing?

Oh, well. Not for me to judge. I wanted to be tattooed because I was young and determined to vivere promiscuamente. That means "sow his wild oats."

And no, I did not have that made into a tattoo. Unless the tattoo artist knows Italian, it’s dangerus.

 

 

 

© 2009 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.