My wife and I were discussing tattoos the other day. Not that either of us are seriously thinking of getting one. I don’t know, there’s just something about putting graffiti on God’s temple that just doesn’t appeal to me. At least mine. I see plenty of other temples around that have beautiful, ornate artwork on display. I mean, my mom just got one this year. She’s seventy-four. And it’s a lovely blue dragonfly flying through reeds in a beautiful pond setting. It’s on her calf. I’ve never seen her wear so many capri pants since she got it. And winter’s coming.
But me? I don’t think this particular temple’s built for artwork. I can’t help but think what the ninety-year-old me keeps saying whenever I seriously consider the idea. “An eagle? In mid shriek? Holding an Irish Cross?” I’d yammer in astonishment, “Looks more like a bald buzzard gagging on a small fish while holding a limp dishrag on this saggy ol’ body!”
Still, what would one get if one were, in fact, thinking of getting one.
Me? I always have a tendency to overcomplicate these things. I’d get an asterisk. Yes. An asterisk. On the inside of my right ankle. Not the outside where everyone could see it, mind you, but the inside where it’s more discreet; more private; someone has to actually look for it which, theoretically—at least in my own overly complicating little mind—would only make them more curious.
“What is that?” they would ask.
“An asterisk,” I would proudly answer, with just the right tinge of aloof indifference.
“What’s it mean?” would be the natural follow-up question.
Ahh, they’ve fallen into my little trap now. Mwaahahahahaaa!
“Let me tell you,” I’d calmly reply in my best professorial tone. “An asterisk is usually used to denote a footnote; to say that there’s a caveat, like to a sports record, an important, missing fact or connotation; or to note that there is more to the story than what information has been given.”
“Oh,” they’d say after snapping out of their brief nap, “I always thought an asterisk was a sign indicating an omission, that an expression is ungrammatical or in some other way unacceptable.”
“Umm . . . no . . . no, that’s not it at all. It means there’s . . . umm, more to the story. It means I’m . . . that . . . yeah, that I’m complicated! That there’s more to me than just meets the eye! THAT . . . THAT I’M COMPLEX . . . AND . . . AND OFTEN MISUNDERSTOOD . . . . . !!! YEAH! YEAH, THAT’S IT! *whimper* I NEED A HUG!”
Aaaaaannnndd that’s why I don’t get a tattoo.