Many years ago…actually about 2 years into my Navy enlistment a group of us sailors were sitting around the barracks drinking a few beers and the conversation turned to getting a tattoo. Well, first off…I hate needles. But after a few beers and not wanting to look like a baby, I was determined to go through with heading into town for a tattoo. I wished I could tell you what happened, but I can’t. I think we continued drinking beer till the thought of a tattoo wasn’t as important, and so I dodged a bullet. Thus…no tattoo.
Over the years I thought tattoos were a fad (yes they still are) and unnecessary, sometimes ugly (sometimes excellent art too though)…and I just had no desire to torture myself or mess up my body (getting fat accomplished that).
But about 10 years ago I started having second thoughts about some artwork on my arm. I searched tattoos, I searched Navy tattoos and I could never find anything I was comfortable with having permanently ETCHED into my skin. But I kept looking. And when I would find an image or graphic I thought would look cool, I would have it engraved on my iPhone case to see how it looked. I felt the laser engraving gave me a good indication of how it would look should I ever get brave enough to actually get a tattoo of my own.
So after 10 years of searching, I finally come up with something I liked. Actually it was several images found on the internet and I was able to merge them into a single customized graphic that I thought would make a good tattoo. Just like all the other times I found something I liked, I had my latest iPhone case engraved with the image. This time, I really liked it a lot. But now I had to make the decision if I really wanted to do this or not and I finally made the decision to get it done. I also had to decide which version of my mock up I wanted to have permanently placed on my arm. I ended up going with option 1 (see graphic on the right).
I looked up some local tattoo parlors and found one I thought would be good and called them. I talked to one of the artists who just happened to be a veteran too and my mind was made up. I made the appointment about a week out and today I went to Doolittle’s Electric Tattooing Parlor in Cabot, AR. When I walked in I was greeted by every one of the artists including the artist that was going to do my artwork, Mr. Jeremy Moore.
I really had no idea how any of this played out…I guess you could say I was an “ink virgin”. At first they had to make a copy of my ID, then there was paper work I had to fill and sign (hell, I thought I would walk in sit down and start crying while they worked on me). 🙂
After the paperwork was done, Jeremy went back to his cubicle and began setting up the area for the tattoo. Being in the medical field for more than 40 years I know how important sanitary and sterile conditions are to ward off infections…and watching Jeremy prepare, my mind was set at ease. He washed his hands several times before even working on me, and donned gloves as he was getting ready to start on me.
Again…I had NO IDEA what to expect. I didn’t know if I would jump up and run out when he started, or if I’d cry like a little baby, or just cuss like a son-of-bitch. But as he started the lines of the tattoo, it was not too bad. It was a little uncomfortable, but not extremely painful. Only once or twice did I wince and curl my toes because it hurt a little more…and that was when he was doing some black shading. I had sat for about 1.5 hours when Jeremy let me know he was done. I got up from the chair and walked over to a mirror and checked out my first tattoo. I couldn’t have been more pleased with the job Jeremy done.
I know this is not a big deal for most people, but for me it was a huge deal. I’m much more informed about the process, care and artistry of these guys who do body art. Although this may be the only tattoo I get, I am glad I finally got one reflective of my time in the Navy. I couldn’t have had a more positive experience. Thanks guys.