Friday, October 28, 2016

What's a mere mortal to do? Ink.

Yes, this is permanent.

Back in 2011, when Occupy was getting under way, I stuck a "WE ARE THE 99%" sticker on the Peace Bike. It's still there (and now has a "UNION YES" sticker, pro-library sticker, and Bernie Sanders pin to accompany it). One day, after I danced around chanting this slogan - and pointing my finger with the "YOU ARE THE 99%" part - a friend who supported Occupy's ideas but doubted its effectiveness came up with a bold suggestion: She said that if this idea lasts 5 years, I will be required to get a tattoo of this slogan.

Occupy hasn't done shit since 2014, but the slogan and the idea live on and are even more popular - 5 years after Occupy's founding. My friend comes around much more than she did 5 years ago, and she hadn't forgotten her daring diktat. It was only a matter of time before she took enforcement action.

I didn't have to spend hundreds of dollars at a professional tattoo shop. My friend did the real work herself. To prepare, I carefully lettered "WE ARE THE 99%" on the inside of my left elbow with a ballpoint pen. I wanted a personal touch, so I insisted on doing that part myself. Besides, after I took shop class in middle school, I figured I'm good at engineering lettering. Unfortunately, there was no chance to use my trademark backwards Y, but it had to do. Plus, a ballpoint pen - even a fresh one - doesn't write on skin as well as it used to, so the margins weren't going to be absolutely perfect.

The real work didn't take that long. And it barely even hurt. I've had shots that hurt much worse than this. Oh, but it's real. This amateur tattoo won't go away. This isn't something we found in a Cracker Jack box. Just because it didn't cost anything doesn't mean it's not real.

It's taken a couple weeks to heal, and still hasn't healed completely. For awhile, I was worried that my friend had botched it. I thought it was going to turn out as "WE ATE THE 99%." But now it looks decent, and it will look even better when it heals entirely. She's competent. She offered to pay for laser treatment if it was botched, but I declined the offer even if she had botched it.

But this tattoo is big - 3 inches by 1 inch. But even at the beach, it wouldn't be as noticeable as you might think, because of the angle. I'm trying to figure out how to hide it when I visit the bubble gum doctor on Monday to have my blood pressure checked - since I know they're going to throw an absolute skizzum when they see a do-it-yourself tattoo. If you think the tattoo isn't 100% perfect, blame Bic for not making pens that write on skin better. If it's any consolation, going to the beach isn't a common activity among landlocked Midwesterners who rarely see temperatures above 50° F.

I have no desperate plan to get a tattoo again - whether amateur or professional. This one is great. But who knows?

Because my friend required me to get this tattoo, she has promised to shave her head if my new thyroid drug makes my hair fall out. I told her that if that would annoy her too much, she could just shave off her eyebrows instead.

Of course there was a chance this tattoo would be botched or become infected. But if you don't take risks like this, life wouldn't be so uproariously exciting, would it? And cool people always like trying new things - even if it fails. It lets us savor life.

Now I can go eat the 1%.


  1. LOL!!

    The 1% isn't very tasty..

    1. Hopefully there will be gum.

    2. The biggest wad of gum in the world will start to taste musty before you can get rid of the bad taste of the 1%..

    3. It will probably be all bubbled out.