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Just like a tattoo

By Staff | Sep 14, 2016

This week, I have tried to manage my time so I can whip up some journalistic treats for you in the October issue of Our Hometown.

First:?by the time you read this, I will be out and about taking photos and recording stories for a feature we hope to put together for every issue called “A Day in the Life of Emmet County.”?The Day for this issue is today. From sunrise to late night, we want to capture moments in the outdoors, in our workplaces and schools and homes and activities. To be part of a future issue, call me at the newspaper office. I’d love to tell your story.

The other big feature for Our Hometown will be a photo story of tattoos. I’ve heard from several of you about the stories behind your tattoos:?some are tragic; a dad got a tattoo in memory of his son who was born to eternity. Some are inspiring:?we will have the story of a tattoo for awareness of a serious disorder. Some of the tattoos are paintings of survival; some are the art of finally triumphing. Some are inked in love. Some are just for fun.

As of this year, three in ten Americans has a tattoo.

According to the Pew Research Center, that’s 45 million Americans who have inked up.

If you consider younger adult Americans, ages 26-40 in 2016, the percentage rises to 40 percent.

Each year, Americans spend well over a billion dollars on Ink. That’s $1,650,500,000 to be exact, according to the same Pew Research Center study.

Military veterans are twice as likely to be tattooed. This played out in my own household when I was growing up. Everyone thought my father was cool with the tattoos he picked up in Tokyo when he was serving active duty Air Force overseas in the late 1950s.

By the time he was forty, he started to think the tattoos were not setting the best example for the young people he served as a guidance counselor.

Had he been a young counselor today, instead of in the 1970s when tattoos were still considered edgy, he likely would have had a different viewpoint.

It wouldn’t surprise me if my mother had significant influence over this decision.

What I remember is when he had the tattoos removed by our family friend dermatologist with the freezing method, he was in a lot of pain. Cryotherapy is apparently heavy on the cry as liquid nitrogen was applied to his skin. Normally, my dad was a stoic Swede, a scupulous Scot, an irrascible Irishman. But he was in so much obvious pain from the nitrogen that I?promised that day in 1977; I?was a kindergartener, that I would never, ever, ever get a tattoo, and I’d influence my friends not to get one either.

I?really didn’t have much influence on my friends, nor on my own daughter, though I think I?delayed her age of onset by not signing for her to get one before age 18.

I still don’t have one, but I?want to start inking symbols from each of my plays. Though I’m now worried about what if I?get prolific writing many plays. I’m big and fleshy, but there’s still only so many inches, and so much funding for such a thing.

Pew Research Center says 31 percent of those inked say their ink makes them feel sexier. I personally hope more people than that own their look.

Mistakes happen, though, and so do changes of mind, or possibly changes of career. Five percent of people with ink have a cover up. At least lasers and skin-match tattoos make it less painful.

I’m really excited to put together the Tattoo feature in Our Hometown, and hope you enjoy it, too.