I just got back from doing the “voice of Keloland” thingy and ran into longtime news photographer and colleague, Mike Simundson who is, perhaps, the most fervent Minnesota Vikings fan I know. He’s the one who gave me the foam brick to throw at the TV screen when they play. That poor brick is falling apart from over use this year. Anyway, we always talk about how difficult it is to maintain any kind of Vikings’ loyalty when they play like this and how it’s even hard for us to believe the familiar fan mantra: “Wait until next year.” My friend and KELO radio talk show host, Greg Belfrage, finally got fed up with the constant disappointment of being a Viking loyalist about mid season last year and jumped on the Green Bay Packers bandwagon. To we Purple People, this is tantamount to treason but Greg has never looked back and has been rewarded with gloriously happy Sunday afternoons, another Super Bowl trophy for the mantle at Lambeau Field and a machine-like group of winners that have gone undefeated this season. I envy his joy but don’t know if I’m ready to go over to the dark side to find it. And, I suppose the same can be said for my colleague, Mike. Poor guy; even if he wanted to give up on the Vikes by taking down all the purple paraphernalia from his front yard and throughout the house..not to mention burning most of his casual clothing, he’s stuck with a big ol’ Viking tattoo on his upper arm as a permanent reminder of our team’s mediocrity. I remember when he got it. The Vikings under new head coach, Mike Tice, had just begun the new season with six straight victories. Unfortunately, they went on to lose a bunch of games and stink up another promising season. I don’t know if Mike regrets getting that tattoo but I wouldn’t be surprised if he started wearing long sleeve shirts even on the hottest days next summer.
I’ve never really wanted a tattoo; never felt strongly enough about anything or anyone to endure the pain of a few thousand flu shots in order to have some inky image stuck on my body forever. Besides, the only place you used to be able to get a tattoo was in some dingy back-ally shop run by a bearded guy named Snake and frequented mostly by liquored-up tough guys doing it on a dare .
Somewhere along the line the stigma of getting a tattoo, either men or women, has changed..so have the places that provide them. Many now have nice waiting rooms like a barber shop or doctor’s office and even though the artists still often only go by their first names, it’s all part of the devilish mystique. The equipment is safe and sanitary and their skills are top shelf.
I still don’t understand why some choose to have images of satan , skulls, snakes or fire-belching dragons permanently etched on their skin..sometimes in odd and unmentionable locations of the body. And, I admit that the sight of a big butterfly tattooed on the bride’s back at her wedding is a bit disconcerting to me. But I come from the old school which taught that people with tattoos probably got them while drunk and more as a demonstration of personal bravado or rebellion..rather than for pretty skin art.
My older brother, Denny, was just such a rebel. While in high school, he used a needle and ink and gave himself two tattoos; one on his forearm where he spelled out his name ..the other on the top of his hand which was a semi-circle design that looked like lady’s fan. After many years and much regret, Denny finally had those homemade homages to youthful stupidity removed at considerable expense leaving a couple tell-tail scars behind as a lasting reminder.
But today, men and women from all walks of life and income levels are getting tattoos for no other reason than they want one and are willing to spend up to 175 dollars an hour to have an artist at one of at least 7 tattoo parlors in Sioux Falls work their magic with needle and ink. That includes one of our daughters and a couple grown grandchildren. Taylor, for example, got a huge Marine Corps tattoo, that covered most of his back, just before being deployed to Afghanistan. Upon his safe return a few weeks ago, he went and had this one put on…ouch!
Taylor’s older sister, Tara, who has at least one piercing and one tattoo, just laughs, gives me a hug and says sorry grandpa when I remind her of the pledge she made to me at age 10 to never have either.
Ah, well..maybe it’s time for Linda and I to get with it. I think she’d look pretty hot with a tramp stamp on her lower back. Heck, I might even get one. Let’s see, what would it be? Oh, I know..how about tattooing the nose of the Hindenburg on my stomach? It would be in 3-D and everything.