Body art

“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.”  –Bruce Lee

Just before my 13th birthday, my brother and I went down to 42nd St to get my ear pierced. The older guys had their’s pierced and I wanted an earring too. My mom knew about it, so no big deal.

“Is it gonna hurt?” I asked.
“Nah. They’ll use a gun and you’ll just feel a click,” he said. And so it was.

A few years later, my bro wanted a tattoo. Back then it wasn’t as popular as it is today – it was a big deal. He was the first to get a tattoo out of any of us. We all thought it was cool. He hid it from my mom at first. Then he started walking around without a shirt or with sleeveless shirts so she could see it.

First day went by – she didn’t say anything. Second day – she didn’t say anything. Third day… Days turned to weeks.

“Mommy see your tat?”
“How you know?”
“She had to’ve,” he said.
“Sure she saw it?”
“She must’ve, I’ve been walking around all summer without a shirt.”
“What if she didn’t see it?”
“She saw it.”
I’m thinking, “She couldn’t have seen it. I mean, she woulda went nuts, right? But it’s been right in her face for over a month already. She had to’ve seen it, right? Maybe she saw it and doesn’t care?” Yeah, right.

A few days later, my bro is walking around the house with a tank top on, and my mom says:
“Louis, what’s that on your arm?”
“Uh, oh,” I thought.
“That? That’s my tatoo.”
Then I saw my mom do what she always did when she was pissed: the infamous ‘lean back against the wall’. “You got a tattoo?” she asked. And there it was. They got into it.

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