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The Joy and Pain of Tattoos

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Tattoos are a form of art and expression. Today you can’t go a mile without seeing a tattoo parlor.

I have seven tattoos on different parts of my body that are fairly hidden so I won’t make the mistake of a potential employer seeing them and me not getting a job because of it. I have two on my deltoids, two on the inside of my biceps, two on my chest, and one down my side. A lot of people say your side or neck hurts the worst of all places, but everybody’s got a different tolerance of pain.

I got my second tattoo on my side because I thought it would look really cool to have a tattoo there, and to tell people that I have one there and then have them ask me how painful it was. Another reason was that some people in my family are not too fond of tattoos and only a handful of them know I have any.

The one down my side should have hurt the worst, but it didn’t and here’s why. A couple of years ago my friend was having his birthday at a tattoo parlor. Now this wasn’t actually a tattoo party, which is when a group of friends get together and go get tattoos or a tattoo artist comes over to someone’s house and gives tattoos. Ours was just a birthday party at a tattoo shop.
You’re not supposed to drink any alcohol before you get a tattoo because it thins your blood and you tend to bleed more. But I was thinking about partying, and to take the edge off the pain, so I had couple of shots of E&J Brandy and was feeling pretty good.

I knew I was getting a tattoo and already had it picked out. My first tattoo was the letter E inside a flame, so I wanted to attribute my second one to my family since I’m very close to them. It says in Chinese, “My family is always with me.” I wanted it to be legit; a friend I worked with had a foreign exchange student living with her and her husband, and he gave me the design.

Everybody at this party was telling me, “Man, I can’t believe you’re getting a tattoo down your side.” Even my own friends didn’t think I was gonna go through with it. As the tattoo artist was getting ready, I started having some doubt, mixed in with the need to pee. As I was getting the tattoo done, the need was growing and growing to the point where I wasn’t worried about the pain anymore, just the fear that I might pee on myself. I didn’t want to tell anybody how I was really blocking out the pain. I just figured I’d keep them thinking that I was the definition of a true warrior.

Don’t get me wrong. If I hadn’t had to pee the whole time, I probably would have taken some breaks in between. When the tattoo artist got done, he told to take a look at it. But all I wanted to know was where the bathroom was.

For me, everything worked out. I got the tattoo I wanted for a good price and I didn’t really feel the pain like everyone else did who I knew had one on their side. Since that one I’ve tried to mimic the same routine, minus the alcohol, for other tattoos I’ve gotten.

None of them compared to the one on my side.

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About Elliot Jones