November 12, 2008

Um. Wow.
I'm happy to announce that my writer's block seems to have been cured. Your ideas are beyond fabulous, so please keep 'em coming. Somewhere, in the middle of your sea of requests, one particular comment hit me like a wad of spit in the eye. It comes from Katherine B, my exceptionally well dressed Texas friend, and it reads:

I thoroughly enjoyed hearing about your tattoos, what they were and what they are now. I don't think I ever heard you tell it though, I think I heard about them from Sarah.

Is nothing sacred? Do I have no secrets? Do you already know that Jared scrubbed the crack of his ass with my awesome new toothbrush last night?

It's true, he did. It's also true that I question the sanctity of our marriage on an hourly basis--but I suppose that's a good post topic to be used on another day. So, without further ado, here is the story behind my tiny little tattoos (yes, that's meant to be plural)....

As a side note, this post should also provide the answer to a question that many, many readers have asked: Amy, were you raised Mormon?

schumck (noun): any human being who gets one or more tattoos on their eighteenth birthday.

I am a schmuck.

On the morning of my eighteenth birthday, my roommate shook me awake and said, "Hey! You're finally legal! Wanna get a tattoo?"

I sat up in my bunk bed, squinted at Ali with some very sleepy eyes and nodded as I heard myself say, "Yeah. Okay."

One hour later we were in her beaten up Honda, headed to the only tattoo place we could find that didn't require reservations. It was in Radford, Virginia--and my oh my, that is one very sketchy town. I could go on and on about the six hour wait, the tattoo artist who was blind in one eye, or the dirtiest Hardee's restaurant on the face of the Earth--but it's never much fun to get bogged down in the details.

I will tell you this--the bearded blind guy never checked my ID (so much for being legal), and he insisted that I sign a contract saying something to the effect of: I promise that I love my body just the way God made it. I promise that I'm not doing this to make myself better in the eyes of other people. God thinks I'm lovable with or without tattoos. That's all that matters.

Then I'm pretty sure I released him of all liability for death, diseases, cooties, and so forth.

I wish that piece of paper had also mentioned the fact that this man was far more spiritual than artistic, because hot damn, he stunk at his job.

Sometime after 7pm I walked out of his shop with two new tattoos--one under each ankle bone. My left ankle sported a teeny blue wing, and I won't lie, it turned out really well. But the right ankle? Well, it honestly looked like someone left one hell of a bruise after kicking me with a pointy-toed hooker boot--nothing but a bright blue blob.

And here's a trusty piece of advice: Never ask a person with one bad eye to give you two identical tattoos.

At that time, I was a D1 collegiate runner on a scholarship--the tats were supposed to be a stealth little set of wings, not one wing and one blue booger. Dang. It.

A few months later, after a glowingly lackluster performance and some ongoing coachly disputes, I quit the team. I literally threw my running shoes in the trash and transferred to a school that was 1,000 miles away. And then, for the next two-and-a-half years I told the following story seventy-zillion times:

Yeah, that's a tattoo.....Yup, that's another tattoo....Well, it's supposed to be a wing....Because I used to run....No, not anymore.....I know, I'm an idiot....

And then I found God.

Honestly folks, there is no such thing as a simple story in my strange little life. No. Such. Thing.

Around that time, my roommate also happened to find God--very convenient. So one afternoon, before Bible Study (I kid you not), we stopped by Tropics North Tattoo Studio. What can I say? We were on fire for the Lord, and we decided to make it known with some permanent ink.

Yes, strange--but it made perfect sense to a couple of twenty-year-olds. Sarah decided to proclaim her faith with a tramp-stamp in the shape of an Icthus (Jesus fish), and I also went the Icthus route, covering both of my wing tattoos with little, purple fish.

Thankfully, this tattoo artist was fully sighted and he nailed the symmetry thing. He was also quite the conversationalist...

ME: Where'd you learn how to do tattoos?
HIM: You don't want to know.
ME: Oh.
HIM: I went to Bangor Christian school when I was a kid.
ME: Really? You're Christian?
HIM: I got kicked out. I'm still not allowed back on the property.

And then, a couple of months later, I joined a denomination that strongly discourages tattoos and asks women to wear skirts to church on Sundays. This has been very confusing for the children in my Sunday School class...

THEM: Sister Lawson, what's on your ankles?
ME: Little fish. The remind me of Jesus and how important he is to me.
THEM: Are they tattoos?
ME: Yes.
THEM: My mom says that Jesus doesn't like tattoos.
ME: Well your mom sounds like a prude.

And that my friends, is the story behind my tattoos.
I love my tattoos.


joolee said...

Can we see a picture?

Why the heck was Jared scrubbing his crack with your toothbrush!!??? :O)

I thought schmuck could also be used as a in I'm schmucked, I got schmucked, or I'm about to get schmucked. Something about a monthly cycle or something?

Perhaps if you were schmucked when you became a schmuck you could plead temporary cycle related insanity?

Sami said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sami said...

Let me try this again. Hmmmm... scrubbing with a toothbrush huh? It wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't a new one.

I think that you should put a picture up. I am vair vair curious as to what one teeny wing and one blue blob look like covered in a purple Jesus fish.

Vanilla said...

Great story.

Sarah said...

I got my tatt the day before I moved to Korea - little did I know only gangsters in Korea have tattoos. That's a good time right there.

chattypatra said...

Hum...never mind my comment on the other post. Obviously, I read that one first. :)

Cheryl said...

Great story! I like your little fish tattoo. Would the other 20 year old perhaps be my kiddo? I wonder if she has the guts to show her tattoo on her blog. Why are kids in such a hurry to do these kinds of things anyway? When she was 18, I heard, Mom, what would you do if I pierced my tongue? Kill you. Guess what, I already did it! And the navel, and the eyebrow, then the tattoo, then the bigger tattoo to go over the cute little one. Sigh.

Amy said...

Cheryl--I believe that your Sarah was already tattooed when I met her :o)
But don't worry...we did plenty of other things together!
This was the other Sarah...the daughter of the Baptist Pastor. Hoo boy he did not love that tattoo!

VICKI IN AZ said...

Those were some very lucky, (blessed) Sunday School kids. So happy your writing again

Grandma said...

wow! it's almost your tatoos' 10th birthday! want cake? xo

J~Mom said...

You are back! Excellent!

Michemily said...

I never knew that about your running. Cool. Well, not cool that you quit, but cool that you are that good. My meager attempts to run for 10 minutes sound even lamer now.

Reluctant Runner said...

Hello, Amy. I just came across your blog and it's wonderful. Great tattoo story. I got my first (and only) tattoo at aged 40. Instantly regretted it. And I don't have youth as an excuse. Sigh ... I guess you're never too old to learn.

turtle said...

the last line made me pee a little.

Katherine said...

Much better then the condensed version I originally got!

Mel said...

Ha I love the tattoos! I have several and I subscribe to "Jesus loves me and my tattoos".

I have plans for more too ;)