After sitting in the waiting room for twenty minutes, your name gets called and an odd mixture of anxiety and adrenaline rushes through your veins. Your heart beats faster as you enter the operating room and take a seat in the reclined mechanical chair. You start to get cold feet and you begin to second -guess yourself. A man walks in, pulls up his sleeves, and sits besides you as his machine fires up, rumbling loudly. “This will only hurt a bit,” promises the man. He tells you to relax and presses his pen against your skin, permanently marking it forever.
For 5000 years, people have been getting tattoos with different shapes, colors, and textures. The word tattoo derives from the Polynesian word “ta” which means “to strike something”, and “tatau”, meaning “to mark something.” While the concept seems simple, the reasons for getting a tattoo varies from person to person. Whether a tattoo is based on tradition, memories, or the desire to rebel, behind every tattoo is a story, and the tatted up students from ZCHS share theirs.
What does your tattoo look like?
Emilie: It’s a black “Fleur de Lis” on the top of my right foot.
Joey: It’s a bending barbell with a ribbon going around it, with the words, “I came, I saw, I conquered.” in latin.
Bill: It’s a bear standing on its two hind legs. I think it’s pretty cool to look at, and for me it’s pretty symbolic.
Sarah: It says “You are My Sunshine” in cursive on my upper-right rib cage.
Why did you get a tattoo?
Emilie: Because my whole family has it, so I wanted to continue the family tradition. Everyone thought I wouldn’t actually get it, so I also wanted to prove them wrong
Joey: My dad and I got the same one, so it just kind of means something to the family.
Bill: Cause I’m hairy (laughs).
Sarah: Cause I felt like rebelling (laughs), no cause I just wanted it and my mom said that I could.
What’s the story behind the design?
Emilie: My family is French Canadian, and my mom got it one day, and then my dad and sister got one too.
Joey: I guess me and my dad wanted to do something together for my birthday. We both do weight lifting competitions, and the quote is the way we go about challenges.
Bill: It goes back to sixth grade wrestling. Kids started calling me “Grizz”, like a grizzly bear, cause I was the only sixth grader with leg hair (laughs).
Sarah: My mom used to sing the song, “You are My Sunshine” to me all through my childhood.
What was your experience like when you got it?
Emilie: It didn’t exactly hurt, it felt funny, and you just kind of sweat a lot. You walk in, decide what and where you want it, they draw it on there, and then they just go at it.
Joey: It hurt… a lot. Especially when it crossed my spine. It was a cool experience though, I’m glad I did it.
Bill: It was really painful and hard to stay still, but it was really cool at the same time.
Sarah: Exhilarating. It was so much fun. It hurt, but it felt awesome at the same time.
Would you get another one?
Emilie: Definitely, I’m already planning it out.
Joey: Yeah, that’s my only regret, is that I want more.
Bill: Yeah, there’s actually a second part to this one. On my back there’s gonna be a huge tree with a river coming from behind it down along my waistline by the bear.
Sarah: Yeah. I’m planning on it, but I don’t know if it’s gonna happen.
When did you get it?
Emilie: Saturday, September 3, 2011
Joey: July 2011, as a late birthday present.
Bill: Two weeks ago at Steel Rod Tattoo over near 38th street.
Sarah: February of sophomore year… so 2010.
Annie Weber [Staff] and Brice Lanham [Co-Graphics Editor]