Sunday, December 30, 2012

Are Tattoos Any Good?

From: http://www.grandforksherald.com/event/article/id/252662/

Design, placement
If you’re going to get a tattoo, remember it’s called “permanent ink” for a reason.
For many, it’s easier (and cheaper) to get a divorce than to remove a tattoo. So, when you think about design and placement — said both artists and the tattooed — think about the future.
“Not every employer is going to think ‘It’s no big deal,’” Pederson said. “Not every person you want to befriend is going to accept your tattoo. Think about what kind of first impression your tattoo will make on other people.”
Bryon Widner had tattooed brutish symbols including a blood-soaked razor, swastikas and the letters “HATE” on his face and body during his years in the white power movement.
After he left the movement, he found he was shunned on job sites, in stores and restaurants, according to a story published in 2011 by The Associated Press.
Widner considered using acid to remove his ink when a contact in an anti-hate group, called One People’s Project, hooked Widner up with Southern Poverty Law Center. The agency found him a benefactor who paid $35,000 to remove the tattoos.
The procedures — 25 surgeries in 16 months — were extremely painful, and after the first couple, a doctor at the Department of Plastic Surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville decided Widner was suffering too much. The rest were performed under a general anesthetic. Widner’s story was the subject of a documentary called “Erasing Hate.”
Some tattoo artists will give their customers any kind of ink they want. Others, like Burdick and Arran Brown, another owner of Darkside Tattoos, said they wouldn’t give anyone a swastika. Even if it wasn’t offensive to them, Burdick said, it would reflect poorly on their business.

My opinion:
I'm not surprised that many tattoo parlors refuse to draw in hate symbols, but there probably are a lot of people, especially ones who are unlicensed to give tattoos, who would do so.  Choosing an "okay" tattoo may be difficult, because there is no telling how the person will change over time.  Not only may the symbol become obsolete, but due to changes in the skin, it might not look appealing anymore, either.  Although I do believe tattoo removals are becoming somewhat easier, many doctors are against tattoos because of this and for other reasons.  I remember when I was shadowing a doctor and a patient who had a history of hepatitis C.  The patient probably got the illness after a dirty needle was used to engrave a tattoo.  The patient turned to me and said, "Don't get a tattoo in Australia."  Then the doctor turned to me and said, "Don't get a tattoo ever!"  Interesting discussion, to say the least, but is it ever worth it to get a tattoo?  Sometimes there may be decent reasons, for example, if it is meant to pay tribute to a deceased spouse.  But are there other tributes that are just as meaningful, if not more so?  Feel free to comment.

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