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.