So most of you have seen at some point the tattoo on the inside of my left forearm. It's nothing special, a couple of kanji symbols that loosely translate into "seize the day." Words I try to live by. Well, I got that done the winter after my 30th birthday, and lately had been getting the itch for more ink. Probably because it took 5 years for the sense memory of the friggin' pain to subside. Apparently the guy who did my arm had something to prove, because it hurt like a mofo.
So I found my artwork, and shopped around for months for a tattoo studio. Last week my friend JW got a new tat at a place called Nikki's Custom Tattoos on Monroe Road. I was pretty impressed by the work on his arm, and thought I'd go in and give it a shot. I went in, and the guy there (Jason), told me that the piece I wanted would take about an hour and a half and would cost me $250. Since that was half the time and $100 less than I'd been quoted, and since I liked his portfolio, I dropped the deposit and set my appointment for last night.
So I headed over there after work, and we started the process. He brought out the sketch he did based on the artwork I provided, and it looked great. He did a lot of neat things with the flames for the wheel in the cross, so I thought it would be pretty badass when finished. I laid down on the table, and he got to work.
Yep - the last guy obviously had something to prove, because the tat on the back of my calf hurt FAR less than the one on the inside of my forearm. And Jason was surprised at that, because he expected it to be much more painful, especially since it was much larger. I'll admit the that first few strokes of the needle were pretty flinchy on my part, but after a couple minutes I just found a little zen point and chatted with Jason through the whole thing. I lay there for about an hour fifteen listening to his life story (fairly interesting) while he inked my leg. Just about the time I started to get really bored and need to pee, he wiped down the back of my leg and said "You're done."
I was really surprised. The two chinese characters on my arm took 45 minutes and hurt like a motherfucker, and this piece, much larger and much more detailed, took only 1:15, and hurt a lot less. I got my care instructions and drove home to unveil to Suzy. She liked it, because I'd told her what I was getting done, but hadn't mentioned that the flames would be in color, so she liked the contrast. It hurts a little today, kinda like a bad sunburn on the back of my leg, and you really don't know how many things hit the back of your leg until you don't want the back of your leg hit at all, but it's really discomfort more than actual pain. But thank god for boot-cut jeans.
So here it is - my new leg -
The Celtic Cross is because of my mongrelized British Isles heritage. The claddagh in the center symbolizes me and Suzy, and the ring of fire is (what else) my love of music, and an homage to the late great Johnny Cash. I'm really pleased with it, but it'll be tough for anyone else to see, unless they ride even slower than I do! But now I have even more reason to get a new kilt.
And by the way - this tattoo brought to you by Compatible Poker, who renewed their ad this week, Thanks, guys!