The Devil’s paint. Satanic branding. Defiling God’s Temple.
All true but not the only reason that I don’t like tattoos. I don’t like tattoos for the most part, simply because they are so common. When I was fifteen and still trying to figure out exactly who I was, or would like to be, I used to experiment with drawing tattoos on myself with ballpoint pens. The ink came in a few basic colors and would last until I washed it off. THANK GOD! My friends always thought I was getting some fresh ink and at that time, seeing a fifteen year old all tatted up was a real head turner. Girls would throw themselves at me. How silly. It was fun though, I could temporarily be someone else and then fade back into obscurity whenever I got ready. Those were the days.
I missed the pierced ear phase too. I don’t know why but I just didn’t feel the need to put myself out there like that. I wasn’t a party dude, really didn’t enjoy socializing at that time and so, felt no need to proclaim myself to the world. I had nothing to prove, just wanted to be left alone to enjoy my quirky little delights, like making stuff and driving my car. Why were people so dissatisfied with who they were born as?
I did like tattoos on girls though, before it got really crazy. Most girls who had ink back then were Chola’s and I’ve always had a thing for them. There is just something about them I find fascinating, so graceful, strong and at the same time, feminine. They were like beautiful Tomboys to me, and they all had some discreet blue ink tattoo hiding somewhere. The only time you got to see it was when they wanted to share and it was a real privilege. Now, girls get all of these garish tattoos full of color and such, ick. I just don’t think them very special anymore.
What is truly special now, is someone who has managed to get through all of the phases in life, without becoming a human billboard. Now that, is SPECIAL.
It isn’t that I can’t appreciate the artistry of it all, it has just become so much white noise. Just about the only tattoos that I like nowadays are prison ink. I’ve seen some really bad ones and some really fine ones. As a matter of fact, the best tattoos that I have ever seen (not the most novel) were on this guy who had done serious time. He was a Norteno and had all of these portraits of infamous old time gangsters all over his body. Each one was so well done that they almost looked like a photograph. They were all either two or three colors only and were meticulously placed on his body. The ink was not faded either, they looked as though they could have been freshly done yesterday. I really admired his body art and kept asking where he got them done, I couldn’t believe he had them all done in prison because the quality was so good. He then told me that he hung out with “The Angels” and I understood then. I used to have art competitions with them in county jail, those bikers are great artists. Really fun and interesting people to hang out with too, until they’re not. Anyway, prison ink is the only ink I respect, everything else is pretentious and silly.
Which leads me to my real reason for writing this post. I recently lost a friend (almost more than a friend) to a cancer that I am convinced was brought on by her tattoo. Her name was Marta Campos and I really did like her. She was with another dude named Larry at the time, but it didn’t seem very serious. We would flirt whenever we saw each other and it got so bad at one point that people started to tease. We would both get highly embarrassed and try to keep it discreet but the attraction was there nonetheless. God must have been watching over me because as soon as I decided to take the next step and ask for more than flirting, we were separated by circumstance. Funny how infatuation can just konk you on the head all of a sudden. I came in one day after she had her hair and nails done and delivered one of the most devastatingly sincere lines I have ever said in my life. I then knew she was mine. Thankfully, that’s when we were separated by the twists of fate (or God).
The next I heard, she had stomach cancer. I found her online and began to really get to know her. She wasn’t what I had expected, much smarter than she let on. She was strong too, very tough after getting over the initial shock. She established two blogs and a fundraising site, chronicling everything that she was going through in picture, word and video. I felt so sorry for her since she was so young (only 30), had never been married nor had children. My condition had changed just as drastically as hers had. I had lost my truck, my income was under duress and the battle with THC (Tenderloin Housing Clinic) was heating up. For us to get together now seemed, an impossibility.
I’ve been in relationships with handicapped women before, seriously ill too, so just the fact that she was gravely ill would not have been an absolute deterrent. The issue in my mind was, “I’m having trouble now just taking care of myself”. I avowed to just talk to her and keep her company for as long as she wished.
So I’m reading her latest oncology haps one day and clicking on the photos when all of a sudden a picture scrolls up of her exposed back. She was having a procedure at Kaiser where they were inserting a huge tube into her abdomen from behind, and draining fluid out by the pint. As bad as that was it did not compare to what I saw for the first time, upon her bare skin. Marta had this huge tattoo (very well done) of the Hindu god Ganesh absolutely covering every square inch of her back! I just couldn’t believe it.
You know, you think you know someone and then come to find out you don’t know them at all. Face to face, I had never seen any tattoo on her, it was only after she began posting that I learned she loved ink. Ink did not love her though, and it culminated in her early death.
You see guys, we are SPIRITS who just happen to live in a material world. What we really are transcends the physical, this body is but a container for our spirit and where does that spirit come from? Why, from God of course, with a capital “G” and it ain’t Ganesh either. The bible tells us that this body is a temple for God, the supreme spirit, and that any man who defiles that temple shall die. By inking her back with a false god such as “the lord Ganesh” Marta did just that, she defiled God’s temple and paid the price. Not only did she have a tattoo of Ganesh on her back, she had a “Dia De Los Muertos” girl skeleton on her shoulder too. She was practically slapping God in the face! The bible specifically prohibits us from putting any marks nor alterations upon our bodies of any kind, she just happened to choose a grievously offensive subject matter as well.
Poor Marta, she wasn’t a bad person, at least not from what I could see. I really don’t believe that she was bad at all, just misguided. She didn’t heed God’s word and stumbled into a mortal sin trying to follow a fad. The tattoo was beautiful for it’s artistic value, but it sealed her fate. This wasn’t a case of carcinogenic ink nor unsanitary equipment, it was a case of foolishly disobeying God.
I mean, come on, how smart do you have to be to think that permanently marking yourself with the visage of a false god is not going to hurt God’s feelings? You know, the one who created us all. He made us, made our minds, our spirits, our bodies. They along with EVERYTHING in this Universe belongs to him, everything is HIS PROPERTY and he is jealous of it. He is especially jealous of his most precious creation, US. He has a right to be too, he sacrificed his very own Son Jesus to the indignity of Death for us. And you are then going to mark your body as Satan’s property? What do you think is going to happen? God gives life, Satan delivers death. How stupid.
So, poor Marta is gone. When I saw what she had done I pointed out her error, her blasphemy. I knew that I would lose her as a friend but that was only a secondary consideration, I was trying to save her from death both in this world and perhaps the next. I told her she had defiled the temple of God, quoted chapter and verse, then encouraged her to repent and ask for forgiveness. My sincere hope was that if she did that, she would be forgiven and recover. For all I know she did ask for forgiveness but had to pay the price anyway. Just because you are forgiven doesn’t mean that consequences don’t still have to be paid. Unfortunately from the reaction that I got, I doubt she heeded my advice. In future correspondence (which wasn’t much) I detected a mocking tone. It was the only time I truly felt sad for her.
Oh, and by the way, the number of body modifications, tattoos and piercings that I have add up to a grand total of ZERO. As blank a canvas as the day I was born.