Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The old red fish, he ain't what he used to be

Most mornings, I'm the the first person in the office to arrive. At 7 a.m., not many people are at their desks yet with the exception of one or two news side people. Really, what sane person arrives at work at 7 a.m. on purpose anyway? That's why I qualify, I don't consider myself sane.

But anway, after I make my rounds of light turning on, computer booting and phone call returning, I usually have time to cruise around the internet. This morning after I returned a few emails and caught up on some blog reading (heaven forbid the boss catch me doing that while I am doing not much of anything else during my day) I came across this article on MSNBC.com.

Then it occured to me, my first tatoo turned 11 years old in September.

Yep. For the last 11 years I've had the fish on my shoulder.

I'll never forget that morning I had it done. September of my senior year of college. For some reason I can't recall, we didn't have band practice that morning (probably no home game that day). My room mates and I all rolled out of bed around the same time and decided to grab some breakfast in the dining hall across the street before it was too late and we were forced to eat lunch (breakfast was always a safer bet).

While we were sitting in the on campus apartment, one of my room mates looked at me and said "We've decided it's time."

"Time for what?" I had no idea what in the heck she was talking about.

"Time you got that tatoo you've been talking about. We don't have plans today so let's head out to C.C.'s and get you that tatoo."

Yeah right..." I looked around at all five of them and nope, they weren't kidding. They were going to take me whether I wanted to go or not.

"All right then, let's go."

They were right, I had been talking about getting my first tatoo for some time. I don't remember why I was on this sudden kick to get ink permanently etched into my
skin, but I was all about it. And I knew exactly what I wanted to. As we were walking out the door I grabbed the video with the picture on it (two of my room mates were education majors). I knew exactly what I wanted, there would be no looking through books or page after page of examples set out by the artist. No, I knew what I wanted.

It took us about an hour to get to the tatoo place. The entire way there my stomach was doing flips. More out of fear of my parents than anything else. At the age of 20 (almost 21) I still had a healthy fear of my mom and dad...the fall out from this whole adventure could be ugly.

When we walked in to the tatoo place I stepped up first. The guy who did the work looked over the video cover, looked at me, looked at the cover, looked at me then said "Sure, let me go see what I can do with this. I'll be right back."

He took the video to the back of the office to make a transfer and I'm sure, laugh his butt off at the silly girl out front who wanted Dr. Seuss tatooed on her shoulder. Eventually he came back with a medium size transfer, bigger than the picture on the video cover by far, but not so big that it was over the top. Perfect size. Once I nodded my head and agreed to it I was ushered back to the table and about another hour later, was the proud owner of a new tatoo.

None of my room mates questioned my choice. They new how quirky I was but had they asked, I would have told them the reason for the fish was not that simple. "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish" was my favorite story when I was little. So much so my dad had it memorized and much to my mother's chagrin, often recited it out loud in his sleep. The fish reminded me of my dad. Of a time when all I needed in life was a good story, my mom, my dad and my dog. But mostly it reminded me of my dad, and at that point, I was still very much a daddy's girl.

That of course, was before all of the crap started going down six years ago.

The fish is still on my shoulder. It's faded a good bit and sould be touched up, but unfortunately I've got other more pressing money demands now. That tatoo has been joined by two others. One on my left inner ankle, it's a celtic knot, meaning eternal life. It is a nod to my Irish heritage and I like the meaning behind it. The other is a daisy that rests on my chest. Daisies are my favorite flower, and this one has only been seen by a few.

I'll agree with the author of the article, tatoos should mean something. They should not be done without some thought or meaning behind them. That is why my next one won't come for quite some time. I've decided when love finally finds me, I'll get the celtic knot meaning eternal love...because it's something that means so much to me.

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