I read Rarasaur’s post this morning about Tattoos With Purpose. It was her response to Michelle W.’s Daily Post Challenge: The Next Big Thing. She did say that she did not think she would like to have a tattoo, thank you very much.
I have to admit that this topic gave me pause. I have yet to successfully wrap my brain around this sociocultural practice, gesture, ritual, and even artistic expression. The images that come to my mind are those of Francis Dolarhyde (played masterfully by Ralph Fiennes) in Red Dragon or Lisbeth Salander (by Rooney Mara) in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.
Movies abound in tormented characters, dastardly villains, fearless crusaders, and the like, sporting various body emblems like it’s a badge of honor. However, these are the movies, not real life. We don’t get to see them years later to see if the tattoos are no longer relevant or what they look like when these characters are older.
I have had the unfortunate experience of landing in the middle of a tattoo and piercings convention almost 10 years ago when we drove to Reno to attend one of my daughter’s volleyball tournaments. The hotel the teams (and entourage of parents and coaches) were booked in also hosted the convention the same weekend. So, I have seen tattoos in just about any and all permutations you could think about from that weekend.
Then Rara turns and posits this: What if tattoos come with a purpose? What if say, tattoos can have embedded microchips that can detect rising blood glucose levels or changes in your blood enzymes to warn of an impending heart attack? I suppose that would be novel. However, I would rather see the microchips embedded in your bloodstream, as in small microscopic drones. Medical staff can monitor periodically if it’s still in your system or if you have excreted it in your urine or other bodily pathways.
Or how about this: Put multiple drones to attack specific cancer cells in your body. Then, when they’re done, they can be flushed down your toilet. I would think this would be far more targeted and accurate than embedding it in the skin. Nanotechnology has made great advances recently. It’s just a matter of time. In this way, you could also do away with the painful needle-engraving.
What of the great passion for a cause or pact to be memorialized in a tattoo? What will you do with the tattoo once the cause is no longer a cause or the pact has achieved its purpose or ceases to be relevant? Or you just broke up with the “love of our life” and his name is on your body? Laser technology has come a long way for second chances at fading no longer relevant tattoos. But, the technology has not been 100% successful and not without pain. Why go through with the painful procedure? If it’s to show you’re made of stern stuff, I could think of 10 other ways to prove pluck and chutzpah without damaging the integrity of your most valuable biological barrier.
I have told my daughter that she will never hear the end of it from me if she so much as have the tiniest tattoo in her entire body, regardless of where it is. Any good daughter knows that the incessant, perpetual, and unrelenting wailing, hand-wringing, and complaining of a mother is something she can do without completely. 😉
Perhaps it’s generational. Or cultural. Whatever it is, I don’t think less of people who choose to have tattoos (except daughter, who says, she does not care for it anyway.). I can only hope it’s an informed decision all the way. Like body piercings or blepharoplasty or face lifts.
Thank you, Rara, for a thought-provoking post!
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