Sunday, May 24, 2009

Murder Ink

I always assumed it was just geezery "get off my lawn!" attitude on my part, but this trend always did strike me as short-sighted:

When the Dow is low, the "tramp stamp" has to go.

Dermatologists across the city are reporting a boom in tattoo laser removals, as body-art fanatics fretting over their professional image rush to erase their inky mistakes.

"People can't afford to handicap themselves be cause of a tattoo in a tight job market," said Dr. Jeffrey Rand, founder of the Tattoo Removal Center in Midtown. "We're seeing a huge surge right now in people getting rid of their tattoos."

And when human skin is your artistic medium of choice, pentimento isn't cheap. Or painless.

Erasing a tattoo requires monthly laser blasts, which break up the pigment dye under the skin.

Each painful zap takes about two minutes and costs at least $200 -- and a small tattoo the size of a human chin requires a year of treatments to burn off.

("The size of a human chin?" No one has a tattoo on their chin; what made the reporter think that was a useful comparison? I realize the standard unit of comparison--"1/1,800th of a football field"--wouldn't be very helpful here either, but still . . . . )

My favorite moment of clarity from one of the interviewees for the article:

Mobeen Yasin, a graduate student at Mercy College, said the script tattoo of his first name creeping around his neck is a liability.

"I can cover it with a collared shirt, but if I turn my head it sticks out," said Yasin, a 22-year-old planning a career in finance or law enforcement. "I used to idolize rappers with tattoos. Now I don't want it to hold me back from getting a job."

My friends all warned me it was a mistake when I got my tats--a heart with a dagger through it and a scroll underneath saying "Publish Or Perish" on my right bicep, and a flaming skull with the words "Write To Live/Live To Write" on my left.

But I wouldn't listen.

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