Dear Diary:

My tattoo dates back to my prison days. Me and my bitch, we ... Oh, *alright*, that's not completely true. Let me start again.

I ran away and joined the circus when I was in my teens, my tattoo is a souvenir of ... Stop it. Stop looking at me that way. Alright, alright, it was like this:

I woke up after a three day crack and liquor soaked binge with 50 of my closest friends from the local Hell's Angels chapter. All I was wearing was my new tattoo ...


The truth is that one day a few years ago my kid took me to a tattoo parlour in The Big City and I got a tattoo.

There. Are you happy?

Since I'm now spilling my guts, I might as well spill it all out. I couldn't even have *found* the place on my own--in addition to being grace-challenged I am also severely directionally impaired.

You people know way, way too much about me.

Getting a tattoo wasn't a spontaneous thingie where free spirit Marn waltzes into any old place. Oh no, I'm too ummm Marn for that. No, there was a checklist. (Pay attention, you never know when I'll spring a pop quiz on you):

Check 1) Licensed by all the necessary health boards and professional organizations

Check 2) Steam sterilizer for the tattoo gun

Check 3) New tattoo needle for each client

Check 4) New ink for each client

Check 5) Tattoo artist wears latex gloves that he changes for each client, washing his hands with a disinfectant between glove changes

Check 6) Anything that comes in contact with skin sterilized between clients

Check 7) Immaculately clean building

Check 8) Tattoo artist's hands are not shaking from drug and/or alcohol withdrawal so that when he puts a piece of permanent art on your body which you will be wearing until you croak, that piece of art will closely approximate the stencil he has put on your flesh. (Try saying THAT without taking a breath, I dare you. Thppppptttt.)

As you can see, I am *not* a wild and crazy girl. Sheesh, I told you I make Emily Dickinson look like a party animal. But then I want to live to be even older than I am now. (Yes, you can get even older than Marn).

AIDS, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C are the kinds of cooties that will dead you, and you can get 'em if you aren't careful about tattoos. Okay class, now we can get back to my big adventure.

Anywho, Jesspoo and I enter the kind of rundown part of Montreal where you'd expect to find tattoo parlours. The area had seen better days, and we passed one of those beautiful, simple stone churches that came from those days. It had been updated a tad.

On the side of it, in enormous flashing eye-stingingly bright neon lights, were the words "The Wages of Sin are Hell." I don't think they meant to crack up people, but for some reason getting yelled at in day-glo neon just killed me.

The tattoo parlour itself was equally subtle. The walls and ceilings were plastered with tattoo patterns and photographs of past clients. There were also books and books of patterns.

But almost all these patterns reflected the fact that up until fairly recently tattoos mostly adorned the bodies of cons, carnies and bikers. Take away the bare-naked ladies and stuff with that oh-so-desirable skull/death motif and I was left with 14 choices. Oh dear.

The lady ahead of me was having one that she had placed near her um nether regions coloured over with a rose. Seems she no longer loved the gent whose name had lived there previously.

The tattoo guy told her the rose might not completely obscure the old tattoo, so ... you might want to think twice about that Menudo tattoo, 'kay? You might not feel the same about them in your sixties, as you do in your teens.

My kid and all her friends had tattoos and they warned me to go simple, 'cuz tattoos hurt. So I did, and handed over my arm to a man who had all visible skin but his face and neck tattooed--talk about your person of colour. (Ewwww, I know, but I couldn't resist. Puns make me loopy with happiness.)

The stencil was applied to my wrist. I was *very* scared, expecting mind numbing pain. The vibration of the gun was oddly unsettling, and watching the blood seep from some bits made me woozy, but getting the tattoo itself felt like a bad sunburn, it was that kind of pain for me. Yayyyyyy. Bonus.

Part of my tattoo ? wrists are curved, I can't scan the whole thing, eh. Well, I lived with that tattoo for a few months, but regretted that I had wimped out, that I hadn't gone for something more elaborate. My husband, the handsome, the multi-faceted Paul, sat down and over several evenings sketched out a vine. It has a kind of Celtic feel, matched the basic lines of the original blue tattoo, but gave me more detail. I went back and had it redone and love it.

I'm thinking about getting another, but have been dithering about it for over a year, mostly because tattoos last even longer than a Mariah Carey song. Yes, it's a known fact.

One day I'm going to be sitting in a nursing home somewhere, hitting some random passersby with my cane, tripping others with my walker, and my little bit of body art will still be there. Oh my.

Which story should I go with when the whippersnappers ask me how I got my tattoo? Prison, circus or bikers?

Hmmmmmm, decisions, decisions, decisions ...


Old Drivel - New Drivel

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Want to delve into my sordid past?
She's mellllllllllllllting - Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012 - Back off, Buble - Monday, Dec. 19, 2011 - Dispersed - Monday, Nov. 28, 2011 - Nothing comes for free - Monday, Nov. 21, 2011 - None of her business - Friday, Nov. 04, 2011 -

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2000, 2001, 2002 Marn. This is me, dagnabbit. You be you.