A friend of mine who I met at BYU–yes, you got it, Brigham Young University in Utah–tagged me in this picture (no, it is not actually me, but the girl is super hot). This friend of mine has been watching me collect tattoos over a period of ten years and was able to joke with me about it without acting weird or condemning me to hell.
To be honest, none of my Mormon family condemns me to hell for my tattoos. They may disagree, and none of them would ever get tattoos themselves, but they love me just the same.
I’ve spent a lot of my life hiding my eccentricities from people. Anything that made me feel different from the people around me, I would conceal, from my dirty sense of humor to my tattoos and propensity for wearing all black, all of the time. After getting stuck in an orange sweater I hated one too many times, I decided, recently, that maybe it would be OK to not wear something I utterly abhorred, for once. So what if I still look like some kind of crusty–only nicer smelling. I’m an adult. I choose.
Which is the moral of today’s post. Be who you are, don’t hide it like a rebellious teenager. And if who you are is still looking like a rebellious teenager, years younger than your real age, fuck it. Revel in the glory.
My husband shared an article he read in SF Gate with me today called “With All Eyes on Their Ears, Lobe Stretchers Snip” (do you think the writer was stretching a bit with that title?) The article is about a guy, 21, who got his earlobes surgically remodeled after spending a year and a half stretching them. Now that he doesn’t have swinging flaps of skin–brings to mind that song, Do Your Ears Hang Low–he feels like people won’t be able to judge him from the outside anymore.
To each their own. I’ve never been a fan of wobbly earlobes, myself, mainly because it’s not aesthetically pleasing (which often is the point for people who do it). Although I like certain aspects of tattoo culture, there are things I am glad I never fell into–mainly because I was too young at the time they were wildly popular–including tramp stamps, earlobe stretching and tribal tattoos.
Whether you accept them or not, tattoos have been picking up steam for the better part of the last century, and into this new one. I don’t even know what kinda whosits or whatsits my friends children’s children will have on their bodies. Probably something like in the Hunger Games Trilogy: colored skin, face jewels, outlandish outfits.
And off to my second topic.
I don’t want to meet many of my heroes in person. I’m content to interpret them through their work alone. People are crazy and fallible and wild. Nobody is perfect or can hold up under scrutiny. Better to pretend they’re amazing, basking in blissful, ignorant denial, envying their amazing work in private, instead of spewing out gush and mush to their faces.
For example, when Trent Reznor finally decided to release an album after many of us had all but forgotten about Nine Inch Nails, my friend and I decided to live like twenty-somethings do and buy extremely expensive tickets for his very small show in Reno.
We took a plane out a day early, to stay in the hotel the concert would be in. Everybody was staying in the same hotel, even the band.We slept there that night and then got up in the afternoon to go sit in line and wait all day, something I don’t think I could do now. A really hot photographer, Rob Sheridan, author of what was once a fabulous blog updated regularly with satirical wit and vitriol that made me think I would break a rib from laughing so hard, was walking around filming. I didn’t know who he was, he had yet to become famous, but it felt exciting to be there, like something was in the air.
When we packed into the first row, the crowd became like a collection of clenched fists. A girl younger than I played an opening set with only an electric guitar. She had wowed Reznor with some of her songs back in New Orleans; he was trying to help out by putting her in front of his devoted fans. But alas, she endured major negativity from most of the audience, who had waited ten years for something, anything, from a band that had once been some piece of a corner block of their formative years. Someone heckled Reznor when he came on stage and a fan lit the heckler’s jacket on fire before he was forcefully expelled, along with the heckler, out of the venue.
That night, we met some crazy person, a young guy, I think–I can’t really remember if it was a he or a she–who wanted to follow us back to our hotel. We managed to avoid that happening, somehow, I think by pretending to be asleep when this person came and knocked loudly on our hotel room door: Although, I wonder. How did he get our hotel room number in the first place?
The next day, wearing blatant matching NIN hoodies, my friend and I noticed the band walking outside to their tour bus. Reznor looked different from the angsty fishnet gloved Reznor of yesteryear: he was quite short, he was hell of buff (his neck muscles had muscles) and he looked like a total grownup. We went outside and sat on a bench to people watch. His tour manager walked by, eying our sweaters suspiciously, preparing for us to run over to Reznor and assault him with girl drool. He made stern eye contact with me, making an I-know-what-you-are-and-what-you’re-about-to-be-doing face.
Or so he thought.
But we remained seated.
We watched as a fan ran out the hotel doors and begged Reznor for his autograph. He looked a bit annoyed, as did Twiggy, who I believe went into the tour bus. But Reznor signed the girls’ whatever she was holding, and she gushed loudly, jumping up and down. My friend and I looked at each other, cracked up, and went back inside.
This, my friends, is the way to meet your heroes: Don’t.
“Look outside,” I said.
“There’s a big … machine in the sky … some kind of electric snake … coming straight at us.”
“Shoot it,” said my attorney.
“Not yet,” I said. “I want to study it’s habits.”
-Hunter S. Thompson/Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
P.S. I’m finally reading A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan. It’s brilliant. I cannot put it down. I can’t tell you how long it’s been since I’ve read a book I couldn’t put down. I have a self-confessed book addiction, as you may not have read about in a previous post titled Books: An Addiction that I wrote over three years ago. I check out thirty books, regularly, from the library. I read the beginning of lots of books. I finish only a few.