Doing battle with daily dragons

Monday, October 17, 2005

Purposeful Pain

There is purpose in pain, Otherwise it were devilish.
- Lord Edward Robert Bulwer Lytton

Pain is rather like the teacher you always hated in junior high who would keep EVERYBODY after class just because one dumb ass couldn’t keep his trap shut.

“Alright,” your body says sternly, “since SOME white blood cells haven’t been doing their job properly, I’m afraid everyone is going to have to experience the agony of a tremendous neck cyst.”

“Aww, MAN!” cries the rest of the body, “nice going WHITEYS!”

However, when the injury is self-inflicted, it’s more like getting caught making crude carvings of genitalia on your desk. You just know you’re in for lunch detention.

So, on Saturday, at 12, I turned up here for my appointment with the ink and needle.

It wasn’t my first inking, but there’s always a certain amount of trepidation when you willingly let someone hurt you. Like at the dentist while you’re in the waiting room and can hear the mosquito whine of the drill in the distance, mocking you…telling you that you’ll be next into the plastic coated chair, wearing a demeaning paper bib and giant goggles and HAVING THAT SOUND BOUNCING AROUND YOUR SKULL LIKE A SWARM OF BRAIN GNATS. AAARG!

My artist was a girl called Hayley. My first thought was that she looked remarkably NORMAL for someone who did what she did. No visible tats, no un-common piercings. (Most of my previous artists have been vying for the Scary Bastard award. I would have given it to the bald guy with a yin yang on one side of his head, a large, white tiger on the other and a big spike through his nose.) At any rate, her photo CV was pretty impressive and my design (a pair of Chinese characters) wasn’t all that taxing, even for someone with a couple of straight pins and a bottle of India ink, so I figured my flesh was in good hands.

The last time I had any ink on my back, I distinctly remember spending some time lying on the scunty bathroom floor feeling rather ill and hoping that Mr. Yin-Yang, Tigerhead Pointy Guy wouldn’t knock on the door. I learned the hard way that the little nerve bundles in your spine (of which there are roughly 73 sqillion) don’t take kindly to having needles jabbed at them. When The Idiot had a back tat done January in Banff, he was fine throughout the fairly long process. However, after the artist was finished, he noticed a tiny detail and fixed it, causing The Idiot to pass out completely. Lesson: total pansies should not have ink on or near their spines.

I had had enough time to forget about the bathroom floor, however, so while leaning over a stool onto The Rock Star’s lap, it all came rushing back.

Haley: So, (bzzzzzzzzzzzz) what brought you over to the UK? (bzzzzzzzzzzz)

Me: ...............

Haley: (bzzzzzzzzzzz) You okay?

Me: .............

The Rock Star: You have to breathe to answer, honey.


It went okay. No blacking out like a big girl, no being ill. But now I’ve got pain. And it is indeed devilish.

Just for the masses…here it is. (the red one)