A few (four) years ago, I was not in a good place. I was living in Austin, TX, and doing badly in school. After one of my obligatory sleep sessions, where I slept anywhere between ten and forty hours at a time, my friend came in and asked if I wanted a tattoo. Of course I didn’t want a tattoo. Who deliberately wants a tattoo? Seriously, even people with tattoos don’t want a tattoo. But back then I wasn’t myself, so I answered, “Absolutely!” We got to the tattoo parlor before I woke up completely. In fact, I didn’t fully wake until I felt a hot needle piercing my skin, and saw blood running down my arm. Apparently I was in the middle of getting a tattoo; one of many life mistakes that I have made.
The tattoo design that I decided on while half asleep and fully medicated was the sentence, “i’m sorry”. That’s right. I didn’t even have the decency to capitalize the first letter or properly end it with a period. At the time, I had a tendency to say “I’m sorry” a lot. My self-consciousness was high, and I often felt guilty for things that were nowhere near my fault. The obvious remedy for this was a tattoo. Any psychiatrist or licensed tattoo artist can tell you that.
My friends decided that anytime I felt the urge to say “I’m sorry” I should lift up my sleeve and show the other party my tattoo. While this method is sound in theory, in practice it is marred by two obstacles. First, in any environment with dark lighting, or no lighting, the second party would not be able to read my arm. Second, I didn’t think about the amount of hair that I would have accumulated on my upper arm by age twenty six. Today, the tattoo looks no different than any other ridiculously hairy arm.
Self-consciousness can easily be detected by women. This has always been a big problem for me. Aside from my inclination to apologize for everything, G-d has also conveniently given me overactive sweat glands and an overdose of misplaced guilt. In addition, I have given myself a ridiculous tattoo that is now covered in years of hair.