stories of a failed holy man


gus and the flower
April 30, 2009, 8:25 pm
Filed under: Stuff | Tags: , , ,

for hallowe’en a couple years ago, we bought our daughter a skull on a stick. before you call child protection services, i’m not trying to get my daughter to be fascinated with death. she picked it, out of all the hallowe’en toys. and while we thought it strange that a 1 and 1/2 year old would want a skull, we bought it for her anyway. she loved it. she would take it to bed with her, in the car, in the bathtub…it was her sidekick. she could speak fairly clearly at this point, but for some reason she couldn’t pronounce ‘skull’ properly. she kept calling it ‘gus’, and so to this day when she sees a skull, she calls it ‘gus’.

3076_165994730410_857240410_6676519_2495433_n2i got a tattoo the other day, a huge skull with a rose growing out of its mouth. i thought i looked pretty tough. who wouldn’t be intimidated by someone with a skull tattoo? i know i am, even though i have one. they pretty much scream out, ‘i will kill you if you make eye contact with me’. not that i am stereotyping people with tattoos at all. i mean, they are all lowlifes and sinners, but other than that…so i felt pretty tough with my new forearm tattoo. nobody had better mess with me, because my skull tattoo has given me power beyond measure. until i got home…

my daughter ran up to me and said, ‘oh look, it’s gus and the flower.’ 

that took some of the steam out of my toughness train. what looked really tough at one point now reminded me of springtime blooming and my old school bus driver. i don’t think he was named gus, but he reminds me of what a gus should look like.

tattoos tell stories. and while you might not understand why someone would desecrate their body so, every tattoo tells you something that’s beneath the surface. something deeper in this person’s heart and soul. sadly, too many people’s souls are filled with weird tribal art that means nothing to them, but other than that…

i got my first tattoo the day i turned 18. i had just graduated. i made the appointment months in advance in anticipation of this day. my parents were strongly opposed, so i knew i needed to stay in cognito on this quest towards tattoodom. the design was brilliant…or so i thought at the time. it was a bat logo from a band that i loved. AFI… afi-badges-s1i still stand behind the fact that they were a great band, and maybe still are. not really my cup of tea anymore. but it is a pretty dumb tattoo if you simply judge it by its appearance between my shoulder blades. but if you look deeper, it describes a huge part of my life. music. cheesy pop punk riffs that made me feel like i mattered on some level, like nothing had before. traveling to see bands like AFI, deathbystereo, Good Riddance, Layaway Plan, Choke, Moneen, Face to Face, Gob, etc…these bands were what i lived for. it is where my greatest friendships were formed. not sleeping for 40 hours straight in order to follow a band (death by stereo) through the prairies. cramming 15 bodies into a 4 person hotel room the night before warped tour in minneapolis. eating gravy with the loaf of bread i stole from home in grafton, nd because i had no money to buy food, but poured what i did have into gas money to go to a show. 341 productions. the old fire hall. goodsampark and means split tapes. the adrenaline of hearing the perfect beat. the smiles on the faces of those moshing/dancing/whatever you want to call it. music is where God found me, or where I found God, depending on how you look at it. it’s where i grew. it’s where i matured (somewhat). music was everything to me, and still is to a certain extent. and so this dumb little bat tattoo that resembled my crush on davey havoc’s (lead singer) great singing intertwined with gut wrenching screams looks stupid. but it resembles so much more. it resembles a time in my life that shaped me into who i am today. a time of pure joy. a time where i found real joy and purpose in life.

and so now i look at my new tattoo and don’t really miss the tough guy feeling i had. i simply smile when thinking of my daughter’s beautiful face and the excitement with her declaration of my gus and the flower tattoo. because it’s not what the tattoo looks like that’s really important. it’s what’s behind it. it’s where the meaning is found. i’ll take that beautiful image any day over intimidating old ladies in the grocery store.

although, maybe i can still do both…

‘move over grandma, that’s my last package of farmer sausage. i have a skull tattoo.’

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4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Thats a beauty piece of artwork and a beauty story. Good times

Comment by jerms

I just love that little girl of yours! And of course Gus.

Comment by Sheena

good stuff blair.
the story about your little one is pretty funny.
i love it!

keep telling your stories. they’re always great.

Comment by jessie

that tape rules for the record haha. good post. afi tatoo’s are cool no matter what anyone says. they used to rule.

Comment by xjesseex




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