Friday, June 28, 2013

TATTOO'S: Being Unique Or Just Following The Crowd?

In the words of the immortal Greta Garbo, "I vant (well she was Swedish after all) to be alone." Yet you can't help but wonder why do so many people want to be unique, follow their own path or ideals or whatever is fashionable at the time yet still follow a crowd or at least their crowd of choice. We have SO many choices to be unique today: Geek, biker, tattooed man (or woman), runner, hiker, name it. It seems the more we want to be unique, the more we follow some crowd.

The other day driving through Pasadena, CA near a building I swear is a dead ringer for the TV sitcom "Big Bang Theory" were three or four young people standing at the corner waiting to cross the street. Cal Tech types. Four guys and a girl. Looking at them and how truly geeky they were I looked at my wife and said, "OMG there they are! The people from "The Big Bang Theory." She looked over and we had a good laugh. The writers of that TV show need not travel far from Hollywood.

It was then I realized there is a truth there. We all want to be different, we want to either stand out or not but find a way that makes us different. We huddle with our "peeps" and will often only stand out with them and then try to hide from everyone else. Kind of a herd instinct, like sheep. The "Big Bang Theory" explores this idea every week.

I vant to be alone!
I can remember the first time my son decided to dye his hair blue. He went to a Catholic high school and such things were not only frowned upon but forbidden. So summers were his time to experiment. Summers he was also a lifeguard at the local pool so a day after he became a blue man, the chorine in the pool turned his hair bilious green. That got a big laugh at the dinner table and before we knew it, he had about 1/8 inch of hair left. We didn't say much. Hair grows back.

I'm glad the guy to the right isn't my son. I don't think I could ever stop laughing or groaning or maybe both. We were lucky there. If a needle ever gets within a yard of him he turns green and would most likely pass out. His sister cured him of ever wanting to pierce an ear after she described the needle they use, the pain, the cleaning with "burning" alcohol and having to move the earring around so it wouldn't get frozen in place. We walked right past the ear piercing place.

You have to hand it to the tattoo artists though. Growing up in the 50's, tattoo's were decidedly low class. None of my friends ever got one. What todays tattoo artist can do with skin is truly amazing, true works of art. However, that taut flesh of one's 20's becomes pretty saggy in your 60's if not before. Our neighbor, a WW II veteran had a huge eagle on his chest. I'm sure it was impressive then. When we last saw it though in his 70's, trust me, the eagle had landed.

You can't deny the art in the tattoo artist. Many are incredibly inventive and create art as beautiful as any artist ever has. In a way. like graffiti artists, its a shame then don't find a more permanent medium.

The medium here, body parts, is the today and saggy tomorrow. I think I'll invest in laser tattoo removal. 

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