Pet Peeves

The Anomaly: a Blank Slate

By Mark Crantz

By Mark Crantz 

I read in the Indy that another tattoo parlor opened up.  I wish the young person owner much success. Just from looking around, I think she will be. Everybody is inked. I’m old and not. But I did come close once. My third kid graduated college and I almost got,  “ATM.  Out of Service.” I didn’t because my tattoo wish was so true.  I was too broke to get one.

“I Luv Mom.”  “Dad.”  “All Is Fair in Love & War.”  “And miles before I go to sleep.”  “I listen to the bray of my heart. I am. I am.” “Dream as if you’ll live forever.”  And from the Harry Potter movie, “I show not your face, but your heart’s desire.”  This quote is written backwards and requires a mirror to read correctly. Mirrors not included.

These are popular tattoo quotes. I believe there must be a serious shortage of paper. I’m not a tree hugger, more a pat on the bark kind of guy, but really people, I think you shouldn’t write all over yourselves. Get some paper. I can’t help but think like a parent. “Nobody knows where that ink comes from. Made in China, I bet. Commies are getting under your skin. Not mine. See. Made in USA. Go to your room and write all over yourself, I will not use Chinese ink or characters.  Are you listening, Mao?”

My son-in-law has a tattoo. It’s a squiggly sun looking thing in the middle of his back.  We were at the beach and I asked my daughter about it. “Oh he got that before I knew him,” she said. “Was it the tattoo when you knew he was the one?” She answered, “I guess.  The loser before him mooned me. And if the marriage doesn’t work out, I have something to shoot at.“

I notice recurring themes in tattoos. The subjects swirl around love, freedom, life and death. And the quotes about these things seem to be getting longer. The rumor in literary circles is that one New Yorker is having the book “War and Peace,” inked all over his body.  He’s being careful to keep the steamy parts of book clothed.  He plans to have the New York Library lend him out to interested readers.  He thinks few readers will be able to finish reading him in the allotted two weeks and with recurring fines he should be able to retire to the Hamptons by 40. He plans to keep his hand and the rest of himself in the game after retirement by being on the beaches’ summer reading list.

The more I think about it, I think I will remain a blank slate. It’s more mysterious.  People must wonder why I don’t have a tattoo. “What is he thinking? We can’t read him.  Steer clear of that Pet Peeves guy. He doesn’t wear his heart on his sleeve. Does he luv Mom or not?  Maybe he was adopted.  Probably.  He’s weird.  I’ll bet he likes pencils and erasers…”


Mark is a transplant to Laguna from Chicago.  He occasionally writes the guest column “Pet Peeves.”  His recently deceased Border Collie, Pokey, is his muse and ghostwriter.

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