The year was 2000. I was 18. It was the summer in between graduating high school and moving to Calgary to start university. Now, as I remember it, I was a pretty good kid. My parents had it easy. It’s because I was saving all my rebellion for this one particular weekend. I’ll spare you the whole story, but my friend Lizzie and I ended in up Vancouver, 800km from home and our angry parents. We knew we were in big trouble as soon as we saw them again, there was no doubt about that. And because I have a rare form of logic that is totally unreasonable, I decided that since I was already in the most trouble I could ever be in, it couldn’t hurt to do a little more damage. Therefore making this the perfect weekend to get a tattoo.
Lizzie and I walked into a tattoo parlour near Granville and Davie. I don’t remember what it was called, but I do remember there was a shop dog, a little chihuahua with his ear pierced.
Me (lying): 19; I’d like this design on my neck (I point to a celtic knot, my favourite design of the 50 or so late-90’s images hanging on the wall)
Tattoo Guy (laughing): No way. I don’t do necks unless I’m pretty sure the guy is going to end up in jail. You don’t look like you’re going to end up in jail.
Me: You don’t understand. I’m very mature for my age and I know what I want. I assure you, it’s the best spot for my tattoo. I’ve got scholarships for university! I’m going to change the world and I really think a neck tattoo will help me do this. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ll fail at life if you don’t tattoo my neck today. Adults don’t take me seriously, I know that once I have a neck tattoo they will.
Me: What is the highest spot on my body you will tattoo?
Guy: Here on your back (pointing to my upper back)
Me: Okay. Let’s go with that.
Let me tell you, I begged and pleaded for a neck tattoo, but this guy flat out refused. Praise him. I don’t have a neck tattoo, but I do have this gem of a symbol on my back for life. No, it doesn’t mean anything to me. No, I don’t regret it though maybe I would if I had to look at it more, or if it were at a more visible spot (like my neck).
Katie and Kurt like to joke with me about the direction my life would have gone in if I did in fact get a neck tattoo. I like to think I would have ended up with a phd from Oxford in anarchist-feminist political theory and how it is presented today in the Gaza Strip. Katie thinks I’d be the kind of person who buys and eats 5-cent candies from downtown 7-11’s. Kurt thinks I would have a dog on a rope and that we would have matching bandanas. I guess we will never know.