Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What My Ink Means

I got my first and only tattoo when I accidentally poked myself with the sharpened tip of a yellow Dixon Ticonderoga #2 pencil. I was in Mrs. Phillipson's rowdy 2nd grade class. Everybody had their left hand down on a piece of construction paper. Except the couple of lefties; they had their right hand down. It was the week before Thanksgiving and we were supposed to create Thanksgiving cards for our families. Everyone knows that when you trace your hand with your four upper fingers spread apart, the finished product resembles a turkey. That's what everyone was doing: tracing. My pencil broke mid-trace. I barely even got over the top of my pinky with my pencil before "crack!" I hate when that happens. If I have learned anything over the years about drawing lines, it is this: the secret is to be fluid and, once you start, you commit to that line until it is finished. You never stop midway because you will almost always get that awkward little irregularity where you left off. The fluidity is hard to match once you stop, or when your pencil breaks and leaves a nasty graphite heartbreak at the end of, what was to be, a perfect line turkey. Flustered, I marched over to the wall-mounted sharpener with my degenerate pencil in hand. I wasn't nice to this pencil because it wasn't nice to me. I shoved it in the mechanism and gave a few strong turns of the crank. I pulled it and checked my work. Looked pretty good. Then I gingerly touched the tip and the graphite just fell out in my hand. Stupid pencil. Ernesto was standing behind me at this point with his busted pencil, and was giving me an impatient hurried look. Back into the grinder it went. Crank. Crank. Crank. Ah, this time it looked good. The wood that held the graphite in place was flush and secure. This was a new pencil, I tell you. Sharp as a tack. I looked at Ernesto proudly and perambulated around the room a bit, noticing the progress of turkey development around the classroom. It was standard procedure in the elementary classroom to NEVER hold a pen or pencil, or scissors, or anything sharp for that matter, toward yourself or outwards towards others. Always down. That was ingrained within us early and a pretty good life lesson, I'd say. Don't accidentally stab yourself or others. Nice. Well, I don't know what I was thinking, but I was holding my small, new, yellow weapon pointing right at me as I took my seat and, with my hands held close to my stomach, I haphazardly thrusted the tip right into the skin above my hip. I looked down and the pencil was suspended in my skin without me holding it. I pulled it out and nobody saw what happened. I finished my turkey. There was a slight imperfection where the pencil failed me before, but it was still a turkey, nevertheless. I now have a small, grayish dot where I stabbed myself to this day. You better believe I was cautious with my pencils, pens, and scissors from that day forward.

That's what my tattoo means: DON'T BE A JACKASS.
Pretty cool, I think.
I could have gotten that or a coy fish. Whatever.



Your stories are amazing! I love them! I don't have any tattoos not even an accidental one. I'm way to scared to get one. I'm also to much of a perfectionist... & tattoos are so permanent :/


T.S.B. said...

I don't have any tattoos. My one piece of body art is a scar gash on my left knee, obtained by flying through the air after a certain someone crashed the bike. This crash I was assured was not possible, the rider being too confident, too steady, too cool hand luke for that to ever happen. But you know what?...crash we did.

So here is the moral of my one piece of unwanted body modification. Watch out for other Jackasses!

Anonymous said...

Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
I've been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

Thumbs up, and keep it going!


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I am recent graduate just looking at the dirt, writing about it.