I got my tattoo!!
Posted on July 21, 2013
Rather than a monotonous play-by-play of my experience, I thought I’d try something a little bit new. I would attempt to delve into you, my loyal reader’s, psyche. While in your psyche I would root around a bit to find the burning questions you have about my tattoo. Here’s what I came out with:
(You) What made you want a tattoo?
(Me) Good question friend. I wanted a tattoo for many reasons. One of the main and most legitimate reasons is peer pressure. All of my friends have them. I remember back when I was a wee lad my mom said “David, if all of your friends jumped of a bridge, would you?” Actually I started daydreaming then so I missed the rest but I am pretty sure the point is you should do anything your friends do. (You hear that kids?)
Also, there are several practical advantages such as the fact that I will now have a readily-identifiable corpse. Also, I will now have something in common with the folks on death row in San Quentin. Finally, this particular tattoo will save vast amounts of time as I will no longer have to always answer the constant barrage of “”what’s your favorite medieval weapon, excluding the trebuchet, and bible verse?” questions.
What were your thoughts going in?
Well, I was a little bit nervous to be honest (is that a surprising admission from someone with a tattoo?). I spent the last 32 years of my life with a naked back of my right arm and it was all about to change. In fact, the night before I spent sometime with the back of my right arm as sort of a bittersweet parting. We both knew this was better for both of us but it didn’t make the feelings less intense. In fact, here is a picture of me and my arm:
It could have been worse. I could have had a NOT sexy cry face.
Were you nervous about the experience of getting the tattoo put on?
Well, only partially. As I had never gone through this process before, I didn’t know what the protocol was. For example, was I expected to just walk in with my picture and tell the artist to “put this on my body”?
But in terms of the actual pain, I wasn’t concerned at all. I was under the assumption that I would be getting general anesthesia. In my head I pictured the procedure going a lot like this:
As it turns out, general anesthesia is not offered no matter how much you beg. So, the experience turned out to be more like this:
Some of my more astute readers may notice that this picture reflects me merely getting the stencil put on. While the tattoo had not yet begun, she was pushing really hard. Here is me finally “manning” up for the actual tattoo application:
As I did fill out the waiver form my mind flashed back to the horror stories I’d heard as a youth. If my artist did not properly clean their gear I was at risk for any number of blood-born afflictions. The last thing I wanted to get with my sweet body art was HIV, or Hepatitis, or crabs.
Did it hurt?
The short answer to this question is “yes”. The long answer is “heck yes”. I would not want to go through the experience of getting a tattoo as a hobby. The closest way I can describe the feeling is it was like riding my bike on asphalt and then falling onto my arm for about 2 hours straight. Or perhaps angering a hive of bees to the point that they focus their rage-fueled attack on my one arm.
As Karina was a big proponent of this idea I thought this was the perfect opportunity to grab Karina’s arm during this procedure and scream “you did this to me”! Although this tattoo was no doubt much worse than what she went through, what with the birthing of our 3 children.
Any other thoughts about the application part?
I’m glad you asked. I personally think getting a tattoo is a lot like participating in yoga. It is very uncomfortable for a longer period of time than you feel is necessary and you will release several inadvertent groans throughout the experience. Worst of all, like yoga it can be boring as you sit in one position for hours on end. I was face down on what looked to be a massage chair. As this was a tattoo parlor, I gather it was a more “hardcore” chair. So my view looking down was this for about 2 hours:
And if you think that’s bad, this was the view Karina’s shoes had:
It looks like the view from inside a porta potty as I happily gaze at the contents. Creepy right? Well, not as creepy as this version. For some reason removing the mouth adds a whole level of crazy:
How is the healing process going?
Well, it is going as well as it could I suppose. I should only be bedridden for a few more days. Karina will appreciate that I am sure. One thing I will tell you is I did not realize how often I used my arm/shoulder to bump into doors until I paid for this giant, festering wound. Apparently I do it quite often. Otherwise everything is progressing as planned.
Any closing thoughts on tattoos in general?
I will leave you with one parting thought. Getting a tattoo is a lot like having a baby: You should put a lot of time into determining whether one is right for you (you also shouldn’t try to get one while you are drunk). When the time comes, it’s really painful but you leave with something that makes you proud and gives you joy…and hopefully doesn’t embarrass you in 18 years.
A more accurate representation of the event than my slightly exaggerated description