Monday, November 24, 2008

“Just Living is Not Enough"

A few people are raising a stink about a tattoo parlor moving to the Oval in Milford. (Stink about Ink). They are very concerned about the undesirable clientele that patronize such establishments. I’m not going to rehash the article as you can read that for yourself. However, I am going to tell you about a few of these “undesirables” I know personally.

A few years ago, I noticed a beautiful tattoo on a young man that worked in our office. I asked if I could inspect it more closely. The young man was pleased that I asked and extended his arm. Woven into the design was a man’s name. Now I could have made a number of assumptions. Instead I asked about the name. It was the name of his brother who had passed away. His brother had suffered from a heart defect since birth. With love and care his brother lived to early adulthood. He had been his best friend and confidant. The tattoo was to honor his memory.

Another not so young man has recently acquired a tattoo of his own. It is on his forearm. I recognized the name on this one. It is that of his son who lost his life in a tragic ski accident earlier in the year. His son had been a great athlete, an all around good American kid. The tattoo was to keep his son near. He will willingly speak about his son to anyone who asks. This beautiful tattoo, a tribute to his son, certainly encourages that.

An elderly woman celebrating her 90th birthday was asked what she wanted for a gift. “I want a tattoo of a Unicorn” she said. “I have always wanted one.” She went on to explain that all her life she had always done what was expected of her, and sacrificed that which she wanted for others.” The tattoo was a gift to herself as there was no one left to tell her “no.” I listened to her with great interest and knew there was a message here for me.

The old woman’s words awoke long held desires of my own. I had raised three girls. Bathed, fed and cared for each one. Took them to church every Sunday and tried to be a good example of Christianity. I had given of everything that I am and everything that I had. What I had forgotten to do was give something back to myself. The old woman’s words kept reverberating in my ears. There were plenty of years for me between now and 90 to enjoy my own tattoo. One I had dreamed about for years. That and the words of my own offspring who said,” who is stopping you mom?” propelled me forward.

So who are these “undesirables” that some Milford folk want to keep out of town? Is it the young hard working man moving through life without his brother? Is it the grieving Dad? Or is it the 90 year old woman who has been well respected in town for many years? The fact is this: One in four adult Americans have a tattoo. I am sure many of them are well respected hard working citizens. Their reasons for having a tattoo are as varied as there are people in this world. I could write another blog post about why I have always wanted mine. However, I think this expresses it better than I ever can.

“Just living is not enough" said the butterfly,
"one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower."

Hans Christian Andersen

From Misc

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