When the Cardinals started their hot streak towards the end of the summer, I pondered doing something I said I would NEVER do: Get a tattoo. I got caught up in the moment and was so excited at the prospect of yet ANOTHER World Series Championship that I vowed to a few friends that WHEN (I never doubted my boys) we won the World Series, I was going to get a petite–less than in inch square–tattoo on my left wrist of the Redbird on the bat.
All of the friends that I discussed my plans with tried to dissuade me, citing what they thought would be compelling arguments:
There are needles involved! I just won’t look.
It’s permanent! Pujols or no Pujols, I don’t plan on switching my allegiance. I support my hometown. (I recently defected from my former hometown which I never really claimed anyway and if ever asked, even though it’s in print, I will deny ever living there in the first place. Note how I cannot even bring myself to give it’s name mention. Such is my loathe of the place.)
It’s going to hurt! I have a high threshold for pain.
You’ll get old and saggy! I have yet to see an old lady with a saggy wrist. It’s the boobs we have to worry about.
It’s expensive! I’ll sell an egg…..
I deflected all of their attempts with Wonder Woman like stopping-a-bullet-cold precision. All of their persuasions fell on deaf ears.
As the possibility of an ELEVENTH (I’m not bragging…I’m just saying…) Championship became a reality, I only wavered because I wasn’t sure how much it would cost. I put that thought to rest by doing what I always do when I want something: put something else I own on Craigslist to sell it and then use that money to buy what I really want.. I WAS going to get a tattoo and nothing that anyone said was going to change my mind.
Or so I thought.
On Halloween weekend, having never been to Fright Fest at Six Flags, Romy and I decided to get one last go at the park, even though both of us have definitely hit that age where roller coasters are kind of a gamble in the vomit-inducing arena. We bundled up, grabbed her kids and headed out. We walked around the park for a while and then went to see one of the notoriously cheesy shows which despite having no plot, was pretty entertaining. We were to meet her kids at the front of the park at ten pm so we tooled around, people watching the rest of the night. Coming up on an airbrushing booth right when the “artist” was getting ready to start a shirt, we stopped to watch.
The “Artist” started the shirt which would end up saying “Toby’s Love” with pink and black flame-like designs around it. As she finished the first word, she turned around and said,
“Oh…Toby is with Y isn’t it,” after she had neatly airbrushed “Tobi.” She turned back around and started painting again, making the “i” into a “y” but leaving the dot.
While she worked on the shirt, we paged through the design book and found a page that had the St. Louis Arch on it. It was the day after the Cards had won the Series so I was still pretty amped up about my hometown boys taking it all.
“I wonder how much it’ll cost to get my tattoo. Im not going to spend three hundred bucks.”
For some reason, when Romy and I are out and about, people seem to fall into our conversations. It’s like people feel like they have to get in on what we’re talking about and it happens everywhere we go. This night would be no different.
“You want to see a good picture of the Arch, look at this,” said this rather large, rather bleach-blonde Toby’s Love. With one yank of her pant leg, she showed us her shin, which had a five-inch depiction of the arch on top of the KISS logo….you know, because when people think St. Louis, they automatically think of KISS.
Toby’s Love went on to explain that her now deceased father was a huge KISS fan and that was to memorialize him. A nice thought I guess. I saw my opportunity.
“How much do you think it would cost to get a full color one inch Cardinals logo on my wrist?”
“It really depends but if you want detail, it would have to be no less than two by two inches. And you really have to be careful who you go to,” said Toby’s Love with authority. She knew this business.
“I have forty-seven tattoos.”
Toby’s Love went on to explain that the Arch/KISS was actually done as a cover-up tattoo to hide a tattoo gone wrong. Then she showed us the back of her neck, which had a pair of eyes on it.
“Can you tell those are my eyes?”
What do you say to that? I don’t think we said anything. Toby’s Love continued,
“Those are to cover up another tattoo I had.”
I began to see a pattern.
Toby’s Love started to describe more of her tattoos to us, she had memorials all over her body and even had her husband and her childrens’ portraits on her upper legs (None of which are dead yet.) Many of her descriptions ended with “That’s a cover-up.”
Definitely seeing a pattern. And beginning to have doubt.
“You really have to be careful who does the tattoo. I had a friend do one. She got a kit in the mail and you know, everyone has to learn on someone so I let her do it on me.”
“I would not be that someone,” I said.
She continued, ” I had one tattoo that I dug out because I was allergic to the ink.”
When people tell me things, I tend to visualize it in my head. So what I saw when she spoke was this woman curled up into a good size ball, scratching away at her bloody ankle like an animal, in order to gain relief over the allergen. Not a pretty picture.
By this time, the artist was done (or so she thought) with Toby’s Love’s shirt. We all stared at the shirt, as Artist turned around and said,
“How does that look?”
One glaring problem: she hadn’t even pretended to try to fix the dot over the “i”
Toby’s Love asked Artist to fix the problem so Artist sighed and turned back around to her masterpiece. We continued our conversation while she worked. When the shirt was as good as it was going to get, it was nearly ten pm so we said our goodbyes and walked away.
“I don’t think I can commit to a two by two-inch tattoo wherein there is a very LARGE chance that it could end up going horribly wrong, although at fifty bucks (what Toby’s Love said it would probably cost) it’s not as expensive as I thought it would be,” I said to Romy when we were out of earshot.
“I don’t think I even know forty-seven dead people,” said Romy, in awe of how many memorials Toby’s Love had on her body.
And much to the relief of family and friends, I decided that I would not get a tattoo. Even though my love of the Cardinals is not going to diminish.
For a split second I considered getting an airbrushed shirt but realized that I would never be able to bring myself to wear a shirt that said “Cardynals.”
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