Lately I’ve been feeling the “tattoo itch”; the unmistakable feeling of someone who already has tattoos that they want another tattoo. I’m not particularly covered in them, but I do have two:

  • The first, that I got two years ago, located on my left arm, near the shoulder blade, is a lyric from Owen Pallett’s song “The Butcher.” The line is “Into the mouth of final fantasy” which refers to Owen Pallett’s old performing moniker. I got the tattoo mostly because of how much Owen’s music means to me, and also because even if I were to suddenly hate him, the phrase is beautiful. I don’t know what going into the mouth of final fantasy would look like, and that’s the beauty of it.
  • The second, that I got last year, on the inside of my left wrist, is a -30-. Most people outside the journalism field might not recognize the symbol, but most journalists know that it’s copy editing code for “the story has ended.” You could also apply deeper meanings to the -30-, maybe that it means all things eventually come to an end and so one shouldn’t get too, too attached to something.

My third tattoo hasn’t happened yet, but I’m starting to get stronger feelings about what I want it to be. Behold this glorious picture:

the sheep man

This is the Sheep Man, a character from Haruki Murakami’s novels A Wild Sheep Chase and Dance, Dance, Dance. You may recall that I am a big fan of his work. I own something like nine or ten of his books, and I’m currently reading through his short-story collection called Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman. Anyhow, this illustration of the Sheep Man is what I’d like to become my next tattoo. He’s a very interesting character, and he represents the need for people to escape their current identities for a time. Plus, it would crystallize my love for Murakami’s work.

I knew I wanted a Murakami tribute, and I definitely have some other images that could substitute, notably the wind-up bird from Murakami’s epic The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.

Obviously I am someone who is okay with tattoos. I understand well both sides of the argument about marking one’s body permanently. On the people against it’s side, the most compelling argument is that you’ll regret them later, and that’s always something I think about before I go ahead. Hell, people sometimes even regret their tattoos as soon as I get them.

That’s why I always advocate getting a tattoo only when there’s no doubt in your mind. If you entertain even a little kernel of an idea like “Maybe I shouldn’t do this” then don’t do it. Seriously. These things are permanent, and getting a tattoo removed is painful and expensive.

I would also say that you shouldn’t get a tattoo anywhere on your body that might be embarrassing later on. The biggest offender is getting a tattoo anywhere on your face. To those who go for it, by all means, be happy about it. But I know that face tattoos aren’t exactly employable, if you know what I mean.

If I do go through with this Murakami-inspired tattoo, it’ll be my first visual (as opposed to text) tattoo.

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