To see the origins of the word ‘tattoo’, think of the word ‘taint’ and then imagine some people with a thick layer of pigments all over their bodies. Now think of a little boy and think ‘taint’, or at least think of some of the most offensive, sexually graphic things done to the boy’s body, and you’ll think of the word ‘tattoo’.
And that’s a really big part of why I call tattoos ‘taint’ – I think it is a really big part of why we’re the way we are.
The first few decades of our history were very dangerous for most people here and most people did the only thing they could imagine that would make them feel good and keep them out of any trouble. Tattoos were the last thing people would try to hide, the last thing anyone thought about doing.
Some say that it’s because people came here from Europe specifically for tattooing. That isn’t even the most important reason. I don’t really consider that to be real cause I consider that to be the least important aspect of the tattoo experience for me as a person, other than that. Why are there so many tattoos, and what is unique about the tattoo process?
For me, it all starts with how I grew up in America. It’s mostly a culture shock. I didn’t grow up in a country where, first of all I didn’t have to worry about getting tattoos, and second of all, I didn’t grow up with a lot of people that took tattoos very seriously.
Now, tattooing wasn’t something I had to do much of to get the job you mentioned as a kid (but I did). I had my parents get me a new ink on my ankle. There was some discussion about what type of ink to get (some felt like something to do with the devil, others were very, very serious and wanted to do a devil on my ankle). We’d go to an artist, pick out a piece, and that was that. Tattooing didn’t come into my life until I was 20 or 21, and even then I wasn’t tattooed until I had already been thinking of it for a while.
That’s the first tattoo I ever got was a skull with a devil’s head next to it. The devil’s ears were sticking into my earlobes. Not exactly how you think of a devil, but it is how you think of a skull. That was a really
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