So, I’m out with my friend, Sarah and my assistant, Sarah, in Ybor City. Ybor is pretty much entirely bars, clubs and tattoo shops, with a few really good restaurants. I’m a regular just about everywhere. Bartenders know me, waiters know me, the tattoo artists definitely know me.
We’re there on this particular evening for my seventeenth tattoo. It’s one word, “Downer,” etched into my left wrist. Lately, I get my tattoos from a fellow named, Colt, a tattoo artist like his father before him. His mom and dadÂ are usually aroundÂ the shop, orÂ the bar next-door. It’s an odd little family business, but they’re happier than most nine-to-fivers, it’s obvious they don’t go home and hate each other.
“Downer, like Xanax and shit?” he asks.
I don’t have a computer when I go out, it’s just not practical. Whenever I’m out and about, I talk to people using the alphabet.Â I should explain, talking withÂ the alphabet involves a person saying each letter of the alphabet and me signaling with myÂ eyebrowsÂ when to stop at a particular letter. Then, each letter gets written down in a notebook.
I tell him, “no, it’s a Nirvana song.” I tell him, “but also, I do really like downers.” Morphine,Â Demerol, we’re old friends. They’reÂ the upside of getting tubes pulled out of and shoved intoÂ the hole in my throat. I have this done every five weeks, one doesn’t want their trache getting stale. Still, it’s not a drug tattoo, I have two already. Been there. Done that.
Really, Downer is one of my favorite Nirvana songs. To me, it’s an indictment against insincerity. Downer mocks the fact that we do things and say things because we’re “supposed to,” and not because they’re right, or honest. People pray to God, whether they believe or not. People thank God out of habit or fear, whether He deserves it or not.
I don’t want to live my life pretending to be someone I’m not, simply to fit some arbitrary standard of “normal.” I try to show that in my writing, I try to show that inÂ the words thatÂ are etched into my flesh.
HaveÂ you ever felt strongly enough about words to consider making them a part of your body?