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Friday, January 05, 2007

Simple things

I strive to write thought provoking posts on all of my blogs (and if you think this is my only site, you are sadly mistaken - the list of my sites is located somewhere on the sidebar on the left). I do my best to give intelligent responses to those people that come into my life and present me with various ideas (I touch on a recent interchange with Howard V. Hendrix at my Defender of the Blahs Blog). Mom's words of, "You become who you hang around," I suppose, is one of the reasons that I enjoy writing political posts here at Political Pistachio.

But sometimes I fear that I may be simply spouting the rightwing party line, which, if it's correct and accurate, I don't mind doing. Truth is truth. However, I don't always agree with all things Republican. I suppose that is why I call myself a Conservative.

But sometimes the simple things in life gets you thinking more than any complicated political situation. As an example, when I went in for my post-operative appointment the other day (for those that only visit on occasion, I had a double-hernia operation on December 29th, and won't be returning to my real job until Thursday as a result) my wife and I had a rare slight disagreement.

Okay, back up. I was already a little bothered because I have spent a large portion of my life in the care of doctors to the point that I want to just have a body-transplant and be done with it. (Rapture?) Every time it seems like I might achieve a clean bill of health, something else oozes to the surface. And true to form, I have experienced a few complications from my recent surgery as well. One of which is that I blistered like crazy (nasty ones, too) all around my incisions.

My son said it best, "Dad, you have a reaction to everything."

So, not being the biggest fan of the bedside manner (or lack thereof) of many members of the medical profession in the first place, as Doctor You're-just-a-slab-of-meat-to-me was removing the staples from my stomach, I was flinching and let out a whimper when he pulled out one that was particularly irritating. Then the doctor said, "Stop that. This is nothing. I just removed 40 staples from the patient before you and they weren't acting like this."

That, for lack of a better word, pissed me off. My wife knew it, grinned at me in that devoted wife look that she has, and I silenced my tongue (and grunts and whimpers).

My wife used to be a tough cookie, still is in many ways, and in the last couple years has softened in many ways to the point that we don't even argue anymore. How can I argue with such a devoted and loving creature? Anyhow, as I was steaming out of my ears on the way out, we passed by an OB/GYN clinic and it was jam-packed with pregnant women. The gal closest to the window that we were gazing into had tattoos up and down each arm, all over both legs, and licking up her neck. My wife, never fearing what other people think, immediately voiced her opinion in the middle of the busy lobby, "That's terrible," she said. "What kind of message is that woman sending her kids with all of those tattoos all over her body." She said something about disgracing the body, damaging the skin, something like that I think, but by that time my memory centers had been shut down by a sudden urge to crawl under the nearest rock.

Obligated to comment, I said, looking quickly around at the numerous faces that stopped what they were doing in the lobby to simply see how I would reply, "I agree with you and disagree with you, darling. Can we talk about this in the truck?"

Don't get me wrong. I do not typically cower in the face of confrontation. But some things need to be handled delicately, and throwing absolutes around when it comes to people's personal decisions like that of inking the body is not something one does in mixed company. (And I know I am opening a can of worms with that statement, so MK and any other lib, load up, cock your weapon, and fire away. I'm ready for what's comin').

Tattoos are a sticky subject. I have a friend who has this marvelous tattoo on his forearm memorializing his mother who died when he was only seventeen years of age. The tattoo is a portrait of her, and is graced with the words, "In loving memory." My brother has his kids names tattooed on his forearms. Many of my military friends have "Semper Fi," or "USN" or other military icons plastered on their arms, chests, and backs. An old friend of mine that was once in the fire department has a fireman carrying a child through a wall of flames on his leg. These are commendable tattoos. I have no problem with tattoos, for the most part.

However, one fact of life is true. People judge us visually. As members of this society, what people think of us is in direct correlation with what people see. Not just our bodies, but what we wear, what we drive, where we live, et cetera. Sometimes, and this is unfortunate, folks make determinations based on our ethnicity as well. That said, we have enough against us as it is, why would anyone decide to turn the tables against themselves by being tattooed from head to tow, with jewelry popping out of their lip, eyebrows, and nose while they're at it?

I may have lost a number of readers at this point, and that is a shame. This is only a matter of opinion, and rather than getting ticked and clicking off my site, I'd rather you voice your opinion in the comments section. Tell me I'm a dumb, intolerant so and so. Fine by me. Just remember, I do understand that people are people. Underneath, none of that junk on the outside really matters. Some of the nicest people I know scared the crap out of me when I first saw them (not that I scare easily).

And I understand individuality. That is what makes this nation so great. I just hope that the decision to ink up is for a reason that can be lived with, rather than an angry stab at a society misunderstood by its trappings of absolutes and visual judgements.

I guess where I am going with this is that to me it is perfectly fine what folks do. It's their business. In my opinion, it all really comes down to motive. What is the motive for inking up from head to toe? What's the motive for getting an earring that stretches the ear lobe to diameters far beyond natural? What is the motive of a man when he decides that the opposite sex is not for him? What is the motive of people when they decide that the values that founded this nation are no longer acceptable? What is the motive of politicians when they make decisions that may place our society in jeopardy?

Motives, my friends. Sometimes right and wrong is not what is on the surface, but the motives behind it. What's your motive?


Anonymous said...

I agree with your wife on this issue.
I could go into further explanation on this but I feel that there are so many arguments for and against that a person should do both pro and con research themselves before hand.

Anonymous said...


I know this is off topic, but I love that photo of the fishing troller. I was thinking that it would be neat if you might, sometime write a fiction book about a family living in a small fishing town in Scotland where the book depicted the hard life of the old time fisher men and their families.

Anonymous said...

Why the H would Doug write a book about your idea NR? Most writers have their own ideas. You write it!
Why Doug? It would be like me saying I really like a website and i know you designed it, but I like this website, it be really cool if you would make one just like it. HUH?

I don't believe we should be judges of everything. tattooing is not killing another baby or harming another person. Well we can't be anal about everything.

Douglas V. Gibbs said...

Dave, you are right, right, and right. I am trying to be real careful with this subject. I don't ever want to come off judgemental, but face it, we all are. We all have our own value systems. My wife is just a little more vocal about it. Thing is, whether we like it or not, this is a world of image, and if a dude, say, walked in with tattoos from his neck to his toes, but wore a sharp suit, and was sharp witted, would the ink keep him from receiving a job that calls for, say, a professional image? Interestingly, my son has many tattoos and I have none, so this was a tough piece to write from a personal point of view, if you know what I mean.

Anonymous said...

It's even hard to say, judgmental as a term. I mean we obviously need to judge to have a civilized society. running amok would create chaos.

See I don't even know how to say it well. I have had talks with my pastor about this on hot summer days in the fishing boat, and even he agrees in whatever I am trying to say...hahahaha.

It is a very interesting topic, I wish more points could be read here. It is loaded with hypocrisy. maybe its just Tats never bothered me? I kinda think some are rather cool..

Anonymous said...

And I am not trying to be hard on NR. it's just not possible to write something from another's view...impossible. My favorite authors could not envision my visions.

Douglas V. Gibbs said...

Night Rider just asked me by e-mail why I would say dtodeen was right when my message was on the right track in the first place. Here's what I told him:

What I am saying is his point of view is essentially right in all aspects in the sense that we must not be ones to be judgemental, but that does not mean that common sense must go by the wayside. In short, if someone wants to ink up, that is their perogative, and Dave is right to defend their right to do so, but with such a move comes consequences, and whether we like it or not, in the eyes of God we must choose carefully. Just because we have the freedom to make certain decisions does not mean that we should dive right in - - and secondly, sometimes a wrong doing is not necessarily wrong because of what it is, but because of the motive behind it.

Anonymous said...

My daughter has tatoos....seriously chaps my hide! But I love her, so I let her live. At least so far. :) I don't and won't, have tatoos...I guess I'm old fashioned or some such thing, It's ok for military types to have tatoos, to me, that's normal. I just don't think it's attractive on women. Gravity is an ugly thing! LOL

Anonymous said...

Interesting Kate, it's OK for "military types" but not civies' hmmm? I am a military type and have none. My sister a non-military type...has three, even one of those lower back tats. My Dad a military type at 73, 87th Airborne. Tats on arms with the airborne, and Hells Angels.

Wonder why you conclude in the way you did. That's judgmental.

Anonymous said...

Of course it's judgemental... I'm an ol' broad, it's what I do! :)

Actually, it's an opinion. I really think my daughter is going to regret having them when she gets to be my age. She has more to ...ummm... drag...than I do. :)

Gunny John said...

Judging people is part of being human. Whether anyone admits it or not, they do it (to some extent). Since tats are permanent (mostly), a person who is covered in them could be a completely different person than they were when they chose to do that. Much as Obama is hopefully a different person than in his "junkie," and "pothead" days.

I don't regret my tattoos, but they are also in places where I can either show them off, or not. A wee bit of forethought went into them. I don't think that simply getting a tattoo is a reflection of a lack of morals, but I fully understand why other people would think otherwise.

In addition, being the sexist pig that I am, I'm not a big fan of tattoos on women. It somehow seems akin to a woman dressing in men's clothing. I guess I'm just shallow.

Anonymous said...

I got myself a memorial tattoo for my 40th bday. It's the traditional "Mom" sailor heart, only instead of Mom it's "Dad." I was single at the time. I've never regreted the decision.

However, Mudcat is NOT a fan of tattoos. But, he luvs me inspite. If I had been with him at the time, I would have forgone the tattoo.

Alls well that ends well, though.

CJB said...

Douglas, it's so true that we are all judgmental to a degree. It's in our nature.

For example, I have quite a few tattoos (including a large American Bald Eagle which spans from shoulder to shoulder and collar bone to the bottom of my solar plexus), but like John said they are in places where I can choose whether or not to display them. And I also put thought into mine before getting them. All that said, even I (who obviously have no problem with tattoos) can look at a person with tattoos from head to toe and think "you look like an idiot!".

It's all subjective. And if you don't like my tattoos, that's fine. Lot's of my friends don't like tattoos and I don't hold it against them.

The thing is, there is a big difference between disliking tattoos and thinking that they look dumb - and judging the person who has them.