|For the love of Nascar|
A news report from WCVB in Boston this week describes the costly, painful process required to eliminate drawings and slogans that took just minutes to etch. Lasers shoot through the skin to disburse embedded ink, but each treatment can only lighten the image somewhat. The ink re-collects, and so another, then another session, six weeks between each, must be endured--perhaps as many as a dozen times. Even so, says Dr. Oon Tian Tan, a patient can have adverse reactions like white or bubbled scars, or the tattoo can even darken. Deeply colored drawings may be impossible to obscure.
|Beautiful? Or just tra(d)gedy?|
While honoring each individual's choice to tattoo, I must disagree. Nature-given bodies certainly can be imperfect, but why subject them to permanent scars in designs that reflect the wearer's state of mind only at that one point in life? Such an intrusive alteration shows either a lack of long-term perspective or perhaps too much confidence in the future--how can anyone assume that he'll never change his opinion? What if later he tires of it, a spouse dislikes it, or skin sags to distort the drawing into something unattractive (see the Nascar lady)?
In that case, there's always the laser. Out of curiosity, I googled "cost of tattoo removal" and came upon an enterprise called Dr. TATTOFF, which has clinics in Dallas and Southern California dedicated to the regretfully inked. Two of that clinic's dermatologists created their own scale to estimate how many laser sessions would be required to blast off a given tattoo. They give a score based on the client's skin type, density and color of the ink, and its location on the body, to estimate cost; any work beyond that price is free.
According to their website, most tattoo removal requires 9 to 12 laser sessions, and sets back patients between $600 and $2,000. Looking at some of Dr. TATTOFF's examples raises the obvious question, "what were these people thinking?"
|Is that really a BABY?|
|Wow, that looks GREAT....|
Years ago, I was asked to appear on a TV talk show to represent anti-tattoo sentiment. I was flown from my hometown (LA) to the site of the show (Seattle)--unaware that the audience was completely filled with the colorfully-ornamented clientele of the tattoo parlor-owner set to be my opposition. When the host brought his microphone into the well-pierced and needled audience, my hostile questioners had no qualms showing their "significant" etches, no matter where. My point then, as now, is merely that people change. Tattoos, too, are affected by time, and the amount of pain and expense by many ruefully adorned to return to just plain skin ought to bring anyone considering the alteration pause.
A blog post in the Seattle Weekly a couple years ago offers an amusing flowchart of the tattoo decision-making process in which arrows lead through funny, relevant questions about ramifications, concluding, "you probably shouldn't get a tattoo." Right.