Friday, January 7, 2011

Today's fortune: January 7, 2011

Today's fortune: Your qualities overshadow your weaknesses.

January 6 fortune: Do something unusual tomorrow.

January 5 fortune: Now is the best time for you to be spontaneous. Serendipity!

It was a dark and windy night in Westport.

As Jamie pushed me toward the door of a place called Freaks, I was freaking out. The tattoo parlor looked like a dumpy old house and, well, I guess it was a dumpy old house. Inside the living room - or, rather, lobby - glass cases displayed the morbid and peculiar body jewelry designs one could have impaled into their skin.

I was there this very night, my friends, to be tattooed, an act that, for me, was both spontaneous and unusual. What happened was an experience that showed a lot of my weaknesses, but I'm happy to report my good qualities won out to overshadow those weaknesses.

My tattoo artist, Eric, asked me to complete some paperwork, not unlike the documents you'd fill out in a doctor's waiting room and also not unlike the release you'd fill out before jumping out of an airplane.

I had decided on a small and simple tattoo - the words "HOLD FAST" on the inside of my left wrist. "Hold fast" is an old saying favored by sailors. It basically means hold on tight; stand strong; man up. (There's a great blog post here with a more detailed description of the phrase's meaning.)

After I filled out the paperwork, I had to wait in the lobby for a few minutes while Eric prepared his tools. This is where my weaknesses came out. I don't think I was very close to fainting, but I don't think I'd ever been any closer to fainting in my entire life (if that makes any sense). I felt like I wanted to run away. At that moment, I really, really didn't want to get a tattoo.

Then Jamie said something to me. Jamie, who had been goading me to do this ever since I reluctantly told her about my plan yesterday, leaned in and whispered in my ear: "Matt, you don't have to do this if you don't want to."

As strange as it sounds, that's what made me want to do it. And that's what kept me from diving head first out the window.

Weakness itself was my weakness. My quality that overcame it was my own inner strength and my faith in my wife.

So I was fine. I was ready to go. I was excited to get a tattoo. And then I saw the needle.

Rather, I should say, "then I saw the javelin Eric was planning to jam into my wrist repeatedly at supersonic speeds."

After I got settled in the surprisingly (and comfortingly) sterile tattoo room, Eric began laying down the ink.

I'm man enough to admit that nothing in my life has ever hurt so bad. Even now, just my memories of the whole ordeal are painful. With each punch of the needle, I felt like Eric was slitting my wrist.

Eight simple letters. That was all I had to endure. After the first blast of hot searing pain, Eric stopped, and I thought to myself, "Okay. One letter down, only seven more to go." Then I looked at my wrist and realized Eric had tattooed only the first vertical bar of the letter H. Shit!

But I made it through. I held fast. I have a tattoo, and I really kinda like it.

Afterwards, Jamie and I went to D'Bronx, just down 39th Street from Freaks, for a couple slices of meatball pizza (some of the best in the world). After our slices were ready, Jamie took a test bite.

"It's hot," she said, "but I think you can handle it."

"I know I can," I replied. "I can handle anything now."

Then I burned the hell out of the roof of my mouth.


  1. And the good news is, if you decide you don't like it later, you can always change it to say Bold East. Just 3 strokes of the javelin.

  2. *LOVE*

    Well done. Good for you!

    And, if you're interested, here's a post of when my entire family spontaneously decided to get a tattoo together.

    You and your wife ROCK. Keep posting!

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