Old Man Blues

I’m substitute teaching a class of ninth graders. One of the girls sits down. I notice she has a tattoo of a scorpion on her shoulder blade.

‘How old are you?” I ask.

“Seventeen.” she says.

“Liar!” the other kids yell.

I look at the roster that says she was born in 1995 making her 14. “What are you doing with a tattoo?”

“Which one? I have three of them.”

“What does your Mom think of this?”

“She cried when she saw the first one. Now she doesn’t care.”

She hears my heart breaking into a million pieces. “Come on Mister. This is Hollywood everyone has one.”

“But you’re fourteen!”

“Tara has one on her arm. Show him, Tara.”

Another girl shows me a martini tattooed on the dark skin of her forearm. I scold them like Old Man River. ”You realize you’re going to be stuck with these for the rest of your lives?”

‘That’s why I tattoo only things I’m passionate about.”

“But you have a tattoo of a Martini.”

“I’m passionate about alcohol.”


4 thoughts on “Old Man Blues

  1. Love the picture with this post!

    This is a sad commentary on the youth in this country. I remember the song from Scream that started out, “Say a prayer for the youth of America…” (guitar solo ensues). Very appropriate song for back in the mid-90’s, but even more so today.

    Unfortunately, this type of behavior is not just indicative of young people in California, but across the entire U.S. I’ve heard of at least a dozen girls that graduated recently from the high schools in my hometown who went almost immediately after graduation and got a tattoo. They talked about it all through high school and some went and had it done too.

    I don’t understand the appeal, at all. Why do you want to ink yourself up, knowing full well you most likely won’t get it removed; or can’t, so you have to grow old with it and explain your rebellious childhood to your grandchildren one day and have no way of convincing them not to do the exact same thing to their bodies? What a hypocrit that would be to tell them not to do it when they can still see it on your body?

    People say it’s a rite of passage; makes them more an adult; it’s their body and they’ll do what they want to it; because someone told them not to; because someone told them they should; whatever the reason may be, it’s just not worth it.

    You grow older, you grow fatter and flabbier, and this prize possession of passionate rage against the machine that is civilization calling out to them and saying, “You will obey”, while they scream at the top of their lungs, “NO I WILL NOT!”, turns into an eyesore that can never be torn down, completely, and forever creates a centerpiece of debauchery that causes the person that allowed such an image to be emblazoned upon their temple to utter the words, “What was I thinking?”

    But, that’s just my opinion, I could be wrong. I have no tattoos simply because I choose not to. Some people choose to and that’s their choice. As long as they learn to live with it, that’s all that matters.

    But it does seem to be happening more and more these days than at any time before now. And it seems to be happening younger and younger too. That could imply a problem with parenting or lack their of. But even some of the most astute parents have kids that do this, so then what could it be?

    Suffice it to say, they do it because they are passionate about nothing, and are trying to find anything to make their life make sense to them. Somehow doing this act makes them feel good. It’s no longer the princess, the jock, the brain, the criminal, or the basket case. Today, these kids are the emos, the gangster rappers, the divas, the douche bags, and the medicated. Give me back the 80’s any day!

  2. I was 35 when I got my first tattoo. Once you soil the canvass you can’t stop. Each ink has significance for me. I’m now 50 and just got number 8. Thinking about my next one.

    Today’s youth do it because its cool, peer pressure, and obviously rebellion like smoking and skipping school. Too bad.

    Parental control is also a factor. I recently had lunch with some long time friends I had not seen for a while. They were showing off their 1 year old granddaughter. Yes, yes – cute as a button. The already pierced ears added nothing to her stature.

    I asked the mother and grandmother if they buckled to the insistent whining by the toddler to get her ears pierced because all the other kiddies in daycare were getting it done.

    They replied “We just wanted to do this (maim her)for her now so it wouldn’t be so painful for her later.” Kinda like me with my circumscision, I guess. Goodness knows I might decide against it if I had the cognizance to realize it would be too painful to do on my own.

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