As somebody once wrote, and it could have been me:
“See the happy moron, He doesn’t give a damn, I wish I were a moron, My God, perhaps I am.”
This brings me effortlessly onto the present debate about tattoos. Are they the badge of the illiterati or a fashion statement? I suppose it depends who’s sporting them, and what is the sportsman’s message.
My experience with tattoos falls firmly into the first category. Those of my clients, too many to mention, were what the psychologists would describe as socially disadvantaged, in other words morons. I remember one client, big and brutish, the sort of guy whose drinking arm you definitely didn’t jog in the pub, who had an eye watering array of tattoos covering every visible part of his anatomy, and he had dressed to display them to maximum effect. No shirt, a sort of singlet, but that’s not what he called it, that’s what poofters wore, and shorts to show off his legs. The whole was a squirming mass of grubby emotions, with nothing left to the imagination. Political correctness came a very distant second. He was also the same client who declined to have his knuckles tattooed with ‘love’ and ‘hate’ as love in his lexicon was a three letter word, and if nothing else, he was a stickler for symmetry. To top it off, so to speak, he also had a thundering great tattoo across his forehead which simply read: “Mind the gap.”
At the other end of the social scale are the soi-disant celebrities, usually footballers and entertainers, and I use that term advisedly, who are either screaming at the referee or screaming into a microphone in front of brain-dead groupies who scream back. One or two have climbed out of the pit, David Beckham is one, smothered in tattoos in homage to his family. But I ask the question – why? I am happily married with four delightful children, but to show my love and admiration for them and their mother, I simply need to tell them from time to time.
Then there is the problem about indelible ink and the semi-permanent nature of the tattoo. I say semi-permanent because I am told you can have an expensive and painful skin graft to remove them. However, the happy moron would have spent all his benefits money and more besides having his body tattooed in the first place, so nothing left over if he has second thoughts. That’s assuming of course that he had first thoughts, unlikely in the extreme.
The second thoughts usually arise after he’s had himself tattooed ‘I luv Sharon’ and he and Sharon break up. He has three options: the cheapest is to leave Sharon in situ with some explaining to do to the next lucky girl who becomes the object of his affections; the second is to have an expensive skin graft, not really an option (see supra); and the third is to go in search of another Sharon.
Decisions, decisions. This could run and run.
David Osborne is the author of three humorous books on the law. His latest, entitled Order in Court, is now available in reputable bookstores and online with Amazon.