If you are anything like me you like to take a moment or two to pause and reflect on life on holidays like St. Patrick’s Day. In doing so today I began to reflect on some of the key moments in my life when I was wearing the color green. Surprisingly, I couldn’t remember any key moments in my life when I was wearing any green attire so I expanded the color spectrum and realized I really don’t remember what I was wearing when anything key happened in my life. This disturbed me almost as much as the fact that some people see the color of the dress below as anything but crimson and clover.
At any rate, I once got a tattoo that, much like the color of the dress above, has continued to haunt me, and confuse others, for the last 20 years. The tattoo concept was a good enough one (a clover with the Irish flag inside of it and my initials underneath it) it was the execution of said tattoo that has caused the consternation.
My heritage, in some small part, is Irish and it is the part that I learned to embrace in high school when the greatest Irish rap group ever (yes, it’s the only Irish rap group ever), House of Pain came out and made being Irish cool to young, self-conscious guys like me who were desperate to have some sense of identity. I grew a goatee like Everlast, the lead singer/rapper of House of Pain before he went solo and proved that he actually did have some musical talent, and began involving my Irish heritage into all aspects of my life. As you might expect my friends embraced this change in me wholeheartedly by ridiculing me every chance they got; that’s what male friends do – tear each other down so as to feel better about themselves, at least when they actually talk to each other while in one another’s company. It was a great time and made me very popular with someone I’m sure. I’m also sure that my tattoo made me popular as well, unfortunately, for the same exact reasons.
Not long after I graduated high school a friend of mine started getting tattoos and, while sitting on the bio-hazard of a couch that was in my apartment, convinced me, without saying a word, that I should get a tattoo as well. Digging deep within myself, I came up with, and designed, a tattoo that would be an immediate conversation piece while, simultaneously, becoming an internet sensation: a dress with such a coloration that no one would be able to figure out what color it exactly was. My friend, via a grunt, explained that this probably wasn’t a good choice so I was forced to fall back on my Irish heritage and designed the aforementioned clover with my initials underneath it. I probably should have gone with the dress.
I would go into details of how incredibly manly I was during the actual tattooing process and didn’t once black out and/or wish that I was instead forced to watch Roseanne reruns for the rest of my life, but I blacked out and don’t remember much about it. Regardless, I was now tattooed and very proud to show it off until I showed it to my sister who, like siblings are wont to do, pointed out that my initials (NSS) looked like it spelled out a part of my anatomy that one generally doesn’t proudly tattoo on their shoulder despite whether or not they are compared to said part on a regular basis. It was then that I stopped speaking to my sister.
I also stopped showing my tattoo to anybody because, as siblings are wont to be, my sister was right. Unfortunately my tattoo has only gotten worse since. As I write this post the orange portion of the Irish flag has faded so that the clover now looks like it has only been colored 1/4 of the way and, yes, it still looks like I tattooed “ASS” underneath it. It’s disturbing and unfortunate.
Also disturbing and unfortunate is the fact that, as I look in the mirror – not at the tattoo of course – I see that despite the fact that many years have passed since high school and I have since become a husband, father, employee, supervisor, etc, that, between my now bald head and recently re-grown goatee I’m still trying to look like Everlast. Perhaps I’ll find my identity soon. Perhaps I’ll figure out how to be popular. Perhaps I’ll get this tattoo removed. Whether I do or not I can at least sleep soundly at night knowing that the dress below is in fact, crimson and clover, and that I am not Dennis Rodman.