It all started five days ago.
I was sitting in my office, aka, a local cafe, where a man walked in and sat beside me. I live in a pretty … trendy? area, so it’s not uncommon to see some whacky people come by. But this guy wasn’t your ordinary weirdo; he had quite evidently taken it a step or five further than that.
And I say this because he was completely covered in tattoos. Face and all.
Naturally, when I see someone who walks around saying, fuck you society, I’m going to make myself totally unemployable, I think that this person is either a) a complete and utter loony tune (not for the indirect way of sticking it to the man – I quite respect that – but just because, well, they’re covered in tattoos). Or, b) beyond words for awesome.
Whatever was to be the case, I had to say hello!
After a few minutes of musing on which category I thought he’d fall into, you know, to determine the best method of approach – sometimes you’ve got to be a bit more sensitive with the genuine crazies – my mind was put to ease when he pulled out a MacBook Air and was observably extra delightful while chatting to the barista’s.
All things were pointing to category (b).
But then the question became, how am I going to open a dialogue?
Just kidding. I talk to complete strangers all the time. This would be easy.
Here’s (roughly) how it went:
“Hey, dude. How long did all those tatts take?”
“Hey man. Oh, an ongoing seven years or so.” He laughed.
“They look awesome, man.”
“Thanks. You got any yourself?”
“No, none actually.”
“Well, I’m afraid of commitment.” (I’m so funny, hey?) “ And, I’m a student; they’re expensive. So, yeah.”
“Yeah man, me too,” he laughed. “This is how I think about tatts, man. You know how your self is always changing, like, physically and mentally?” He asked. I nodded.
“Yeah, well, you decided to get that specific tatt, at that specific time. So it represents how you were feeling then. It’s just the ink that’s permanent. The meaning’s always going to change … that’s why you just get more tatts.”
As soon as he said this, I knew we’d get along like a house on fire … (what the hell does that expression mean?)
Anyway, we started chit chatting about life and general stuff for a little while. Then he, Joe, told me that he’d be in Melbourne until November, and that if I wanted to take a dive into permanently inky waters, to be in touch.
Now, the other week I was actively looking for a place to stain my skin, but something simply didn’t feel right. I can’t explain why, really. There was just something that felt off. Actually, I know what it was. The whole process felt kind of contrived. There’s something about tattoo parlous that reeks of haughty gin; almost like the polar opposite of an investment banker’s office.
To the contrary, here was an incredibly sincere guy who loved what he did and who shared many of my core, nitty gritty (and rather outlandish) beliefs. I figured this was the sign I was waiting for pause for effect that I should just roll with it and not question myself. That I should sieze the day, take a leap of faith and say yes, YES, and yes pause for crickets?
So I did.
Without taking another second hostage, I sent him a text to see if he was free the following Monday.
We set up a time to meet, and then before I could say humbug-jam-thank-you-mam-alakabam, lo and behold, I was inked.
Here’s a photo.
I know that you (potential reader person) may be wondering what the significance is, if there is any at all. Well …
In the words of Stephen Fry, I’m an upy, downy, mood swingy kinda guy. I wanted something to remind me that, while my heart is beating, my life will always be filled with utterly transcendent ups and earth shatteringly low downs: it’s a genetic thing.
And I put it on my left arm because sometimes, you’ve just got to suck it up and face the highs and the lows like an awkward chicken. Also, the gap in the middle isn’t there just because that’s how heart rate monitors look, it’s there because I’m not exactly sure what’ll come after this conscious experience I’m having here on planet Albatron, aka, earth. It’s there to remind me that I’ve only got one chance at this life thing. And, well, to keep me in line and make sure I don’t do anything obscenely stupid to cut it short.
Anyway, that’s the story of my first tattoo.
Oh, and also, if you want to check his work out, visit:
He really is an ultra friendly slash approachable slash generally incredible guy. And he travels a lot. So who knows, maybe you’ll one day cross paths and make your own non-transient memories?
Humans-permanently-paint-themselves. And that’s weird. But fucking cool.