Saturday, December 31, 2005

The Peculiar Rendezvous of Franklin and Shakur

Even after his passing, TuPac's Thug Life tattoo continues to amaze me. Such comittment to the game deserves respect. On numerous occassions I've joked and pryed about getting it done on myself. However, while Mr. Shakur probablly didn't find anything about the Old English arc across his midriff to be comedic, if it were on my breadbasket I would, and I'm not to into comedy tattoos.

I seem to have a knack for vicarious living. So when Jarred, whiskey-jawed and spark-eyed kept pressing me to go with him to his tattoo shop at one a.m. to give him a free-hand adaptation of Pac's legendary stain, I agreed. I was reluctant at first, but this wasn't exactly a commonplace opportunity. Reassuring me that he had wanted it done in a less-than-professional fashion for quite some time, I gave in. If he wanted it looking real shitty, I suppose I was his go-to-guy. In exchange for my anti-services Jarred offered to provide me with a tattoo of my choice. Given his abilities with brushes and needles I happily accepted, opting for a leg-attached lightbulb. I wasn't the one who needed to worry.

Listening to Owen while tattooing, especially when pop-culture hip hop text is involved, makes for a strange experience. I can't imagine that many folks make sweet love while listening to Sepultura. Jarred wouldn't let anyone change the tunage so while Mike Kinsella swooned away I stabbed away, permanently digging black ink chicken scratch onto my friends belly with absolutely no precision or tact. Using the needle gun's foot control was kind of like driving a really shitty car with fuel line problems or playing white boy funk on a wah-wah pedal, but much harder. In the end, Jarred claimed he got exactly what he wanted. For me, it wasn't what I had expected to happen on a rainy Monday night in a sleepy Northern California town, but it was one of those wonderfuly rare mistakes of comradery that even if I could, I'd never give back. I've got the lightbulb to prove it. Couch surfing once again, instead of counting sheep I drifted off to the sounds of soil and wood shifting in the distance as Benjamin Franklin and Tu Pac Shakur tossed and turned in their respective graves.


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