Mary came home tonight with the word LOVE written, in purple ink, on her arm.
"Come on Mary, you know I don't like it when you write on yourself."
"It looks like a tattoo Mom."
Pause, a look of concern, my cool exterior masking the horrifying scene playing in my head: my daughter's beautiful skin covered from crown to toe in scary ink. To further illustrate my neurosis in this matter, I will admit to weeping openly the first time I passed a smoker while pushing my infants in their stroller, knowing that their once pristine lungs were now tarnished. The passing roar of a city bus did not effect me in this life, and lung, altering scenario.
"Tattoos are cool Mom, I like them."
It came as no surprise to Mary that I did not agree with her position on tattoos.
"Really, you do? You like them? No, not me, not one bit. And, as I understand, they are truly horrible to get. First they must burn the skin, actually burn it, or perhaps they cut it, I don't really know, but I do know this, it hurts. Something quite painful is done to the skin, to expose it, and then hot ink is poured in, almost like pouring it into an open wound, isn't it? But it's what must be done, to make it last. Then there is the long, the very long, recovery from this horrifying experience, possibly months to recover, I just can't be sure. Of course do you know the only thing that is worse? When, several years, or perhaps months, later when you tire of having a butterfly or flower or heart on your arm; then do you know what you must do? You must have it removed, and this, I've been told, is even more horrid than having it burned on in the first place. I don't know exactly what is done but I believe that the skin must be scraped away, you know, like when you fall off your bike and get a very big strawberry on your knee? Something like that, over the tattoo, to remove all that ink, in an operation really. Eeek, it does just sound truly awful to me. You?"
"Oooh Mom, yuck. I thought they just peeled off when they were finished."