Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Swagger's Tricky

In honor of our return to Nebraska in a couple of weeks, we made this video. We need lives...

Yeah, Trickie, we dedicated this to you. Now do you feel bad for not going to that Italian place to meet up with those guys off of The Bachelor for us? Yeah, I wouldn't either. This is just ridiculous. I wanted to put your head on a stick (Nebrasketball style) and dance around with it, but Jacy looked at me funny.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Jesus Loves Me And My Tattoos

I have a constant itch for a new tattoo. There's a pit in my stomach that won't go away. Every time I run my fingers any one of my tattoos, I think, "Man, I regret getting this tattoo. I really wish I would have gotten something even bigger." I'm not sure why I like tattoos so much. Maybe it's the pain, maybe it's the badassyness of it all, maybe it's the meaning. Whatever it is, I won't stop until I get a full freaking sleeve. (Just kidding Mom...)

For tattoo enthusiasts like me, sitting on the sidelines while a friend gets a tattoo is the absolute WORST. Unfortunately, I found myself in that very situation last weekend. Jacy and I were invited along to be moral support as our friend inked up her right forearm. She grimaced a few times, but it wasn't nearly as bad as the internal pain and longing that Jacy and I experienced.

After my experiences with tattoos, I'm slightly amazed how eager I am to jump right back into the tattoo saddle. My first time was, well, a little on the scary side of things. Sadist? Maybe I am.
Warning: This cautionary tale of my first tattoo.

The time was June of 2005. George Dubyah was in the White House, Green Day was on MTV, and I was fresh out of high school working as a cook in our local bar. Yup, them there were the good ol' days.

On my 18th birthday, I decided to do what every 18 year old should do. I bought porn. And it was an utter disappointment. I love men just as much as the next straight teenage girl, but that shit was downright graphic. Not my thing. So, I went with Plan B -- straight to the good stuff -- I decided to get a tattoo.

I wrangled up my friend, Tim, and we rushed to “Erics Tatoos” in Meadow Grove, Nebraska, to get our first ink. And yes, Erics Tatoos was missing an apostrophe and a “t” from its name. But whatever. I was 18 gosh-darned years old. I was free. I was a woman. I had rights. And I needed a damn tattoo. Sure, there were red flags. Maybe how Eric didn't wash his hands after running them through his waist-long hair. Or how he had a used car dealership/pawn shop out his back door. Or how his breath smelled like cheap whiskey and Mary Jane. But we didn't care. We came for one thing and one thing only: tatoos.

When we got to the parlor, Tim flipped through Eric's portfolio and chose this gem of a tattoo:

No need to rub your eyes again. Yes, folks, this is indeed the Godsmack sign. To this day, I don't know why he chose that as a tattoo. Could Tim even name a Godsmack song? Probably not. But it didn't matter. WE WERE FREE AND 18.

I decided on a teeny, tiny, not-worth-my-15-bucks star on my wrist that resembled supermodel Gisele Bundchen's tattoo. Perhaps the price tag was another red flag. Eric only charged me 15 bucks for my tattoo. Nebraska had a state minimum of $40 at the time. But, I was poor and working in a bar, so the price tag was just right for me.

When Tim and I walked out of that tattoo shop, we had the best dang poorly-shaded, crooked tattoos in the history of man. Tim liked his so much that he went back a few weeks later and got another one - a giant outline of a cross on his upper arm - which he later had to get covered up because of the wonky lines. Actually, I think he got two more. I remember some Chinese lettering on his stomach, too. He had to get that one covered up as well.

Eric's started it all for us. Less than a year later, I decided upon a second tattoo.

At 2 a.m. on some random weeknight, I convinced my freshman year roommate, Hannah, to join me at Guns 2 Roses in Lincoln. I knew exactly what I wanted --a gothic-looking cross on the back of my neck. Easy peasy. Get in, get out. I'm not sure why I was so Hell-bent on a cross, but I think it had something to do with my lifestyle at the time. Perhaps, I thought, if I got a cross, then the world would know that I had a Christian soul and would be forgiven for my freshman year fun. Who knows.

Guns 2 Roses had a whole new set of red flags. 1 - the owner, Gary, listened to entirely too much Phil Collins. 2 - Gary didn't have any tattoos himself. No tattoos on a tattoo artist? Meh, who cares! (I cared later. That guy didn't know how hard he was tattooing me. My foot was ON FIRE!)

My idea of a gothic, uber-Christian cross was shot down immediately after I asked Gary to give me a price quote for my tattoo.

"75 dollars."

75 bucks? Really? There's now way that a tiny cross on the back of my neck should cost 75 bucks. Didn't he know I was POOR?! Normal people would probably have just walked out on Guns 2 Roses. Or they would have just gone ahead and paid the measly 75 bucks, but I'm not normal. I am a tattoo addict. So, I decided to bargain with Gary.

"Hey Gare, how much would it cost to get a small tattoo on my foot?" I asked.

"Oh, I'd say about 50 dollars for this cross on your foot. I had to charge you more for the neck because it's a little tougher job," Gary replied.

Was this man out of his mind? Did he really think I wanted that same tattoo now? No way. A cross was great for my neck, but not for my foot. Who did he think he was putting crosses on my foot?

I hadn't actually thought beyond getting a cross. I had no idea what I wanted my third-in-line tattoo to be. But I blurted something out anyway....

"Actually, Gare Bear, I really want a Gemini sign on my foot," I said.

So, Gary had his best apprentice draw me up a Gemini sign. Fifty dollars and 10 minutes later, I was the proud owner of a black and teal Gemini sign on the top of my left foot. Looking back, I bet Hannah thought I was absolutely nuts. I went into the shop to get a symbol of my Christian faith and walked out with Chinese Taoism written all over my foot. Guess that's a Gemini for ya.

So far, I've accumulated four tattoos total, with another one coming soon. (I've promised myself a really kick-ass tattoo after I drop another 30 lbs. MOTIVATION!) And, in case you were wondering, I am Hepititis and AIDS-free, despite Erics Tatoos - which was later shut down because of a Hep outbreak (or so I'm told).

And yes, my parents have seen my tattoos and, no, my dad didn't take me out back and beat me with a skillet. And, in case you were also wondering, Tim and I both have full-time jobs. Two thumbs up for accepting parents and employers!