Thursday, May 6, 2010

I Have A Tramp Stamp

This morning I logged into facebook and noticed that Ben Templesmith had tweeted something about how "there must be a rule that every girl in San Diego has to have a tramp stamp, they look nude without them?"

I suddenly felt the need to make this confession.

Back in August of 1998, I got my first tattoo.
My friend, Tricia & I went downtown one night to Inkredible Ink on Orange & Central and decided we'd find something there to satisfy our desire to get stuck with needles which would result in a permanent marking. We both knew we wanted to get something, we had absolutely no clue what.
Shut up. We were young.

After we'd flipped through all the plastic framed flash boards, I settled on what was marked as, "Watched Over" written in Sanskrit and I wanted the dude -"artist"- to draw up some angel wings and a halo to go with it.

Here's the story behind why:
In 1997, I was in a car crash.  On my way to work, driving the back roads, on a curve by a sub-division, there was some electricity/cable line work being done along the road. A cable slacked and draped over the road.  An oil truck driver in the on-coming lane didn't think he'd clear the cable and slammed on his breaks. His brakes locked and the truck careened towards the front of my car.  My very first car. A robin's egg blue 1979 Benz 240D.

I wasn't wearing a seat belt when this collision occurred and I remember the truck grill coming toward me in what felt like slow-motion and this wave of calmness washed over me with the internal thought process of, *shrug* " we go....". And then........
Fuzziness - a man was holding my hand and saying an ambulance would be here shortly.
Blurry - out of the car and in the back of the ambulance and a paramedic is asking me what day it was and if it was payday and what I had for breakfast that morning. "Orange juice".
Then I was in the hospital wearing a paper towel and waiting for my mom to pick me up.
I had glass cuts on my left arm, bruises on my shins from the dash, and a knot on my head.
The next day I felt like I'd been hit by a truck.  (Heh, sorry...I couldn't resist.)
If the oil truck had been full and if I'd been driving any other car, I more than likely would not be here writing this today.
But I was alive and my young mind was convinced that my ass was being watched over.

Hence, the tattoo placement.
The poorly executed design was basically because I was afraid to "disagree" with the "artist".  He was a giant bald guy, very biker-esque & intimidating looking.
It took a few days before I finally decided that I even liked it.
I stood in the mirror and stared at it numerous times. "Is it even? Those wings could be better... The halo looks crooked. Did I move when he was inking?"
After a while, I finally decided that since I couldn't see it anyway, it didn't matter and ultimately loved that it meant something to me and the fact that I'd done it (and had managed to keep it hidden from my mother for a loooong time afterwards).
A while after that, the term "tramp stamp" was attached to getting a tattoo on this area of the back.

...Fast forward 7 years....
I'm working at Big Corp Co. and on my first trip attending a regional sales conference.
At some point while I bent over a desk or grabbed something off the floor, a couple of our sales engineer guys, *Bhagwan and *Asif saw my tattoo, came over and started asking questions about it.
"What does it mean?"
I told them, "Watched Over."
They shook their heads and were like, "No....that's not what it means." then left to do some research....

Not actual photo of Bhagwan or Asif. I just thought they were pretty.

When they told me that it didn't mean what I thought it meant, I was *not nonplussed.
"HAhaHA dumb white American girl who doesn't know how to read Sanskrit but thinks it looks pretty."
Who knows what I could've been walking around with for 7 years. Above my ass.
Ignorance is bliss.
But knowledge is POWER!!

So, the next morning, Bhagwan sat down next to me and slid over a slip of paper. He said that he'd looked it up.  The paper had scratched on it:

The most literal of tramp stamps.
Which makes me love it even more.

*names were not changed.
**best double negative EVER!
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