Wednesday, February 24, 2016


Not getting one. Don’t worry. But just like my insignificant other and I sometimes make plans for a wedding that neither of us ever intends to have ("not that we are ever going to, but if we got married . . . "), it is for the sake of amusement. Now, you might say that obviously I am thinking about a tattoo, to which I’ll reply – d’uh – but I’m only thinking about what I would do if I was inclined to do so. I’m definitively not going to do it (I do have a price though, so feel free to pony up).

  I started thinking about this while speaking with a  young woman who had some Italian inked on the space below her left shoulder and above her left breast, and it was partially exposed by an open neck shirt. It didn’t repulse me, maybe because she was attractive and I'm human, maybe because it wasn’t overwhelming, maybe because it was in another language – I don’t know.

I’m 56 and when I was growing up, at least where I lived, people with tattoos usually included sailors, gang members and prisoners. Women who did so were considered slutty or molls, if that word means anything anymore. Obviously, that was then and this is now. My own sainted daughter, a goody-goody like her dad, has a small one on her back hip. Some of my friends and acquaintances do. I don’t like them, particularly on women, though once in a blue moon I think one is cute or well-done. I particularly don’t like masses of them running down someone's arm or faces on shoulders or big blocks of words. Yccch. On the other hand, there are exceptions to almost everything.

But, to engage in the fantasy, suppose someone offered me a million dollars  (who am I kidding? Somewhere between $50,000 and $100,000) to get a tattoo on my arm. What would I get?

One thought is ancient – the Sumerian cuneiform symbol for liberty (so they tell me – I can’t read it), known as ama-gi and which literally means “return to mother” (again, so they say). It was discovered in 1870 and dates back well over 4,000 years.


[BTW, I try to follow the law with these posts, and, though a lawyer for 31 years, I don't really understand when I can use an image freely available on the web or not. Sometimes they publish rules, which I also don't understand and sometimes they don't. But, where I can find them, I put the weird looking web address for you and, if for some bizarre reason you want to download them, go to the website. Admittedly, though blogging for 10 years, I haven't always done this, mostly because I didn't know I had to. And maybe I don't. But, these pictures are for looking at, not for downloading, and I don't make any money off it. So, I think it is covered by "fair use" (I hope). Anyway, I put them at the end of the post.]

Of course, I’d have to spend an awful lot of time explaining an amagi to people. Also, I’m always skeptical about the meaning of ancient words for which there is no relative certainty, and it would be embarrassing if one day some scholar said the real meaning was "the village idiot" or worse.

Another thought is stars. I never met anyone who doesn't like stars.  I mostly see these on young women, and they are unobtrusive and pleasing to the eye. Something like this:

No explanation required. Everyone understands decorative stars. But, this is just one example. If you just google "star images" you can see a larger sampling of all the creative ways they can be put together, and some of them are quite beautiful.  Another thought is the symbol for the atom.

Related image

Another one that occurs to me is the Shaolin tiger and dragon that was featured on one of my favorite shows from the 70s – Kung Fu, but for which I do not believe there is any real historical basis. Still, really cool. You put one on the inside of each forearm like the hero of the show.


A photograph I took myself of The James River that I use as an icon online might also work for me.

David Eisenberg
I actually like it in a circle rather than a square, which is sometimes how it appears as my icon, but somehow copying it in that form is beyond what I hypothetically call my digital skill set.

Yet another idea is the rune for Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings.  

That might also require some explanations though as most people are not going to say, "Oh, that's the rune for Gandalf." They are going to say "What the f. . . ?"

This last one is futuristic. It is a picture of the Jovian moon Europa crossing the Great Red Spot, which I found in the NY Times. Again, I’d prefer a circle or oval to a square. It just seems it would be too complex for any artist to copy and also take too long to ink on. But, I imagine soon they will be able to copy images just like we can now scan them and zap them right on to you. As I am never going to do this anyway, unless you could remove it with a click, I might as well be ambitious. But, now I really have run into my digital wall and can only give you the link for Europa and Jupiter. It's worth looking at

Obviously, this is my imaginary tattoo and I will choose what I like.  You can decide for yourself.

Other Links from above - 

Amagi -

Stars -

Atomic symbol -

Shaolin tiger and dragon   -

Gandalf rune   -

1 comment:

  1. That actually might be a good idea for a tattoo itself.


Your comments are welcome.

About Me

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I started this blog in September, 2006. Mostly, it is where I can talk about things that interest me, which I otherwise don't get to do all that much, about some remarkable people who should not be forgotten, philosophy and theories (like Don Foster's on who wrote A Visit From St. Nicholas and my own on whether Santa is mostly derived from a Norse god) and analysis of issues that concern me. Often it is about books. I try to quote accurately and to say when I am paraphrasing (more and more). Sometimes I blow the first name of even very famous people, often entertainers. I'm much better at history, but once in a while I see I have written something I later learned was not true. Sometimes I fix them, sometimes not. My worst mistake was writing that Beethoven went blind, when he actually went deaf. Feel free to point out an error. I either leave in the mistake, or, if I clean it up, the comment pointing it out. From time to time I do clean up grammar in old posts as, over time I have become more conventional in my grammar, and I very often write these when I am falling asleep and just make dumb mistakes. It be nice to have an editor, but . . . .