All of my adult life I have wanted a tattoo - and earrings. When I turned 40 I got my first earring en route to my brother Phil's wedding. When I was divorced I got my second piercing a few years later. And scored my third hole on the day Dianne and I were wed. Ever since I saw Al Pacino in "Serpico" I wanted a hoop - and it only took me 20+ years to make it happen.
Same has been true with tattoos - I have wanted a discrete and relevant symbol - since about 1980. But mostly I've been too chicken shit and professionally self-conscious to make it happen. But today, like the old song for women about "when I am old I will wear purple" says, today I bit the bullet and got myself the tattoo of my dreams.
Now here's the thing about the tattoo: it was another landmark of sorts for me - a rite of passage, if you will - having to do with being old enough and confident enough to finally do precisely what I want. So, after visiting Vieux-Montréal today - where I got my wedding ring refitted (we got new ones last year for our 20th anniversary and it never quite worked right for me) and going with Di to the language training center she will attend after the New Year to prepare for assisting Syrian refugees - we made our way to a salon de tatuage on Boulevard St. Laurent. And when the young receptionist said, "Do you want to do that now?" it was a sign - and I went for it.
As I perused the artist's photograph book I was taken by how dark and sad most tattoos are: lots of violence, blood and anger. So much of the Goth/metal world is saturated in this darkness so I was apprehensive. And, let's face it, I'm a weenie who hates pain. When the artist appeared I thought, "Jesus, Mary and Joseph what am I doing here?" He had never heard of a Jerusalem Cross but we found one on-line and in a few minutes he came back with an imprint. I ran out to the ATM knowing if I didn't do it now it would be another five years of procrastination and minor self-loathing, so hurried back to pay him and off we went.
It was an intricate process in a state of the art studio. Thank God cuz I've been in what seem like dens of iniquity and hepatitis C infections before. And he kept me talking so that I would be minorly distracted. And while it felt like a child was scraping me with an open diaper pin, he was professional, very conscientious and sweet. We talked about music and when he said, "I really don't know anything about jazz" i nearly laughed out loud (but didn't because I didn't want him to make a curvy line.) It was obvious from his body of tattoos that he was a metal head - and more. But he was so gentle and sincere I loved his craftsmanship.
And now I am the proud and grateful owner of a serious Jerusalem Cross on my right arm marking me with the five wounds of Jesus. This symbolizes yet another step in my ministry beyond the traditional church. After we return, I truly don't know where all of this is going but I trust that as one door closes another certainly opens - and through it all I am very, very blessed. We came back to our Mile End digs, sat on le petit balcon listening to Stan Getz and sipping French wine. Another milestone has taken place and it feels so right.