Sunday, October 01, 2006

New Ink.

There are few things as permanent and as meaningful to me as a tattoo. As a lover of tales of 17th and 18th century mariners, I really enjoy the history tattoos carry, even within the upper classes. A captain of a ship of the line could eat at any table, could attend any play and could drink and fight in a bar. Their skin would be dotted with tattoos symbolizing where in the world they had been, and things they left behind or just didn't want to forget. But, there was always the top coat, and uniform of a navy man, which covered his inky table of contents to his personal story. This garb allowed him to walk freely among the upper crust of colonial era society.

And so it is today. I put on a suit and tie every day and go to work, were most of those I work with are non the wiser. I have sat in meeting where people have put down anyone who would get a tattoo. I have been looked upon by others who have them with disapproving stares while in my suit. I sit astride these two worlds, but, am happy to do so. I don't think there is any place I will ever feel 100% comfortable, and so I will try and cut my own pattern. I will try and live my life every day.

That's what my newest tattoo is all about. It is a scroll which contains two lines from an old Latin drinking song, typically sung by University students. "Vita nostra brevis est. Venit mors velositer" or "Our lives are short. Death comes quickly." The tenor of the song is not depressing, but cautionary. It tells all who hear it to live life to it's fullest while you are alive. I can't help but forget this axiom sometimes, and so I had it carved into my skin to help my memory.


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