Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thing 221 Get a Tattoo

There are several reasons why this one was monumentally stupid.

1: I'm now permanently scarred. A tattoo is a permanent scar. And I've now got one running down the back of my arm from shoulder to elbow.

2: I'm afraid of needles. Not the fear like you might have about missing your bus in the morning, or the fear of running out of milk. No, this is a mind numbing, reduce me to a blubbering child, hyperventilating fear. ( I had to get a lumbar puncture when I was about three, I think this might be where I get the fear... Have you seen those lumber puncture needles? They look like joke needles you'd get in a clown's oversized novelty doctor outfit pack). A tattoo requires a needle to drill my arm.

3: It's a painful spot to get a tattoo. If you don't believe me, pinch the flesh on the back of your arm above the elbow... see. Now take a hot knife like drilling needle and stab yourself in the arm lightly for twenty minutes or so. And lash some ink into the open wound...

When phrased logically like that, it just seems so massively stupid. The thing is though, I kind of love my tattoo. A lot.

Ogham is around two thousand one hundred years old as a language. And it's dead now. As in, no one uses it, but it was here before you were, and most of the old ogham stones that can be found will probably outlive you too. Sorry. That's a little morbid, I'm just saying it's a cool part of Irish history.

It's an entire alphabet of Old Irish entirely in the form of some lines notched into stuff. Rocks mostly.
So, I wanted to get "invictus" tattooed on my arm, because it's the world's most magnificent poem, and I love it. In fact, I love most of William Henley's poetry. So years ago, I decided to get the title of that most famous of his poems tattooed on my arm. Then some one went and made a Matt Damon movie out of it. Now Matt Damon is cool, and Morgan Freeman might be the coolest thing that ever walked, and there's no doubt that Nelson Mandela is awesome, but I'm not fond of having the idea of a movie titled permanently scarred into my arm. If I was going to have a movie title in my arm it would probably be "Old School" or "Anchorman".... I jest, it would be "Con Air"...

I jest again. Had you going for a second though right?

So I translated "invictus", which is latin for indestructible. And found it's Irish kind-of equivalent. It's actually closer to insurmountable or inviolable than anything else, but it's close enough. Then I translated that into ogham. Then I went to the same lovely people who stuck an earring into my fleshy bit of my ear in Living Art in Limerick, and hey presto. Twenty minutes later I was tattooed and ready to go. It's not as painful as I was expecting. Buddy in Living Art was pretty decent about the fact that I was a giant girl's blouse about the whole thing. He went at a good pace, but not one that was rushing me. Thank god.

By the way, that's the second time that Living Art have been heroes to me. I owe those guys a couple of drinks or something. Here's a look at their website. Proper legends:

So anyway, it's done. I've got a tattoo now. Here's hoping I don't decide to change my mind... Thing 222: laser removal surgery?

I jest.... again!


  1. Pretty sweet tattoo! Love that poem also.
    Definitely go for the laser removal surgery for the hoot!

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  3. That is a pretty kick ass tattoo!

  4. Intellectual piece indeed!

    Oh, spare me from being a copy cat, i want that on my waist!!!

    Aztec Tattoos

  5. That's actually an awesome tattoo, I love the idea of translating it. *runs off to translate poem to Kikuyu* Here's hoping the meaning will remain in my mother tongue.