Friday, August 11, 2006


I remember getting my first tattoo...

I was dating young Adam. He had a home-made tattoo gun, real punk rock: the motor was taken from a ghetto blaster, the needles were enclosed in a Bic pen casing and duct tape, and when he needed ink, he just went down to Office Depot and bought some. He was doing tattoos on anyone who would let him, and it was only a matter of time before he asked me if I wanted one. I certainly did! It was time to do something permanent in my very unstable life; plus, I could picture me as a grandmother one day, calling over the grandkids and saying, "Looky here at Granny's tattoo!"

I thought about it, and decided I wanted a Chinese-type dragon. Adam said he could do that. I decided that if I was getting a tattoo, I wanted to be straight--nothing to numb the pain (no alcohol, no drugs), and nothing to blame my choices on. Adam said that was really cool, and suggested listening to loud punk rock music to distract me some.

A home-made tattoo gun works very slowly. Adam worked on my right shoulder blade for four long hours the first day. "That's all I can do, my hand is cramping. We'll have to finish the colour work tomorrow." I came back to his little apartment the next day and he worked for four more hours on the already red and raw dragon. That may have been the longest four hours of my life! I don't care how loud you turn up the Black Flag or Subhumans...a slow tattoo still hurts.

Yup, that's me in the photo, a few weeks after the job was done. About a year later, Adam added scales to the body, but he had a real gun by that time, and it only took about an hour. When I went for my most recent tat, I told the artist about Adam's home-made gun, and I could see his level of respect for me rise about 98%. He had never seen a tattoo made with a gun like that, though he had heard about such guns.

I still can't wait to show my tattoos to my grandkids one day, IF I ever have any. I doubt they'll be as impressed as that last tattoo artist, but it'll still make my day.

9 comments:

papa herman said...

The d.i.y. tatt' gun is the same type that inmates use in prison.

In looking at the picture, I would have to say that it looks like Adam did a good job.

Amber said...

the tatoo is cool but the pic is even cooler. i'm such a photo geek

Kim said...

I'm with Amber, that pic is awesome!

I'm impressed with how well that tatoo turned out-nowadays they have schools for tatoo artists because no one wants a botched permanent mark on their body. I'm a sucker for an oriental dragon, I'll admit. I've never heard of a person getting a tatoo SO that their grandkids will see it. Most, when they think of grandkids at all, get it put in a place where their grandkids never need know it exists.
One of my friends got a tatoo done completely by hand-aka no machine at all- she recommended against it, not so much for the pain but for the sound it makes when it doesn't have a motor covering up the sound of a needle popping in and out of skin *shiver. So is that the tatoo Johnny Depp complimented?

Paula said...

Yup, that's the one!

Spoke said...

My first tattoo was done by a "club member" named Dave. One day, I asked him what he'd do if someone didn't pay when he was finished a piece. He didn't say a word or stop working, he simply opened a drawer near his inks and revealed a loaded .357 Magnum. He looked at me, and flashed his "golden smile". (his teeth were gold).

Take 2 said...

Paula you are HOT!!!! Can't believe some would not recognize our hotty friend but nevertheless you are still a HOTTY.

Especially at your surprise birthday party you were a Hotty, all dressed up in your 80's gear.

Miss ya.

Dana

EarthForAliens said...

Wow, I find it ironic that of all the times to have an excuse to do drugs, you pick this one to go clean and sober... ouch...

Nice pic though!

Funkyewe said...

What a neat tattoo! You had guts to get it done the "homemade" way. Ouch,ouch,ouch...that's me getting an imaginary tattoo...I am petrified of needles but do love the art of tattoos. Sigh....

Andrea

headphonaught said...

Nice tat and great pic... Makes me want to get some ink to show Dayna or Miriam's we'ans. Sweet.