Sunday, December 19, 2010

On Rights of Passage.

Last night, I assisted in giving my roommate's stepdaughter Devon her first tattoo. We packed up a mobile tattoo kit, went to the home of Tamia, who is my roommate Leslie's ex wife and Devon's mother, and I was put to the task of making a sanitary environment. When all was set up and everyone was more or less prepared, Leslie went to work on giving Devon her first tattoo.

There were two things that contributed to the rest of the night: Devon had chosen a gigantic design for her first tattoo ever, and had chosen to put it in one of the most painful places on the body to get one. Where is this place, you ask? The chest? The face? The lower back? Unspeakable places?

Nope. The ankle. Right along the nerve going up the leg.

Two and a half hours of screaming, cussing, crying, and trying to break my hand later, Devon had a tattoo of a very pretty, very powerful dragon, and everyone in the room had undergone a transformation. Devon now knew that she could survive anything, the worried mother and stepdad knew that their little baby girl was all grown up, and I was very acutely aware of just how strong the canvas for this bit of art was.

It had been a right of passage. Rather than weaving ants into mittens and making the prospective adult dance for hours with the ant-mits on, or walk over hot coals, or something of that nature, miss Devon has a new bit of skin-art to show off to anyone who is interested.

I have been witness to quite a few first tattoos. Usually the victim -- I mean, client -- chooses something small, puts it somewhere easy to conceal, and worried incessantly over whether it's going to hurt or not.

My own first tattoo I rather calmly read through most of it. My Zoie's first tattoo, which I inflicted upon her, was five and a half hours of sobbing, and an awesome octopus.

The first tattoo I did on myself was a memorial to the cat that had just died. Now she will forever be twining herself between my ankles, attempting to trip me on the stairs.

Hopefully in the next two weeks, I'll be putting an anti-shark charm on Zoie.

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