Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Ink Spot

Prison tattoos are a long way from the fancy artwork you see on Miami Ink. Shy on color these inside jobs are usually pretty basic, a teardrop near the eye, words scrawled across the knuckles. Sure there are some more elaborate crosses and things but given the limited resources and the fact they artist has to do his work in concealment prison tattoos are rarely as well done or fancy as their parlor counterparts.

Yesterday I gave the redneck equivalent of a prison tattoo. No, not to a person, (though I've done that before as well) but to a rabbit.


MOMMA TRIED TO RAISE #3 RIGHT, BUT PETER "PINK-EYE" COTTONTAIL LED HIM DOWN THE WRONG BUNNY TRAIL -- NOW HE'S DOING LIFE FOR SMUGGLING LUCKY RABBIT'S FEET ACROSS THE BORDER

My old high school Agriculture sciences teacher (FFA) called me up and said he had a student who had a show rabbit and wanted to enter it in the local stock show but she didn't really know all the particulars. once upon a time I raised and showed rabbits by the hundreds so I went and checked out the long eared hopper. And one of the things it needed was a tattoo. Show rabbits have to have some permanent identification inside their left ear.

So I ground a metal rod down to a point, grabbed some India Ink and went to work. Making a series of small holes in the rabbits ear, I spelled out SPOT and then rubbed the ink in and now the rabbit is marked for life. I resisted the urge to ad a teardrop to the bunnies eye, but he looked like a killer to me so it just might end up with one yet.

Back when I raised rabbits I had a fancy tattoo set and in high school I gave more than one idiot friend a tattoo on his arm. I could only do letters and numbers so these tattoos were always some girls name. Sadly the ink lasted far longer than any of the relationships.

This post is not really going anywhere but being back at my old high school yesterday and doing a bit of inking conjured old memories.

And in true Cliff Claven style, here is a bit of worthless trivia. Did you know prison tattoos started in Australia. Most people know that the land down under was once a British Penal colony, but did you know England used to tattoo the convicted to further their shame. Such as a D for a deserter, or BC for Bad Character. The prisoners would then tattoo themselves to disguise or cover up the letters.

I have to tattoos myself, but I've always said I'll get one once I sell my first novel. Whatever novel that may be the ink will in someway represent the novel. As I've said before, Should get interesting if Plundered Booty becomes my first novel.


So tell me about your ink.

53 comments:

A. Kichu said...

I tattooed the word OZZY on my fist.. I copied it from Ozzy. Apart i have a god knows what Chinese word tattooed on my arm

CelticBuffy said...

I have a somewhat small (about 1.5 by 1.5 inch) rose in full bloom with my grandmother's year of birth and year of death underneath. Most people find it rather morbid but to me it is a daily reminder of the woman who continues to guide my life.

Chris Eldin said...

Awww!! We have a bunny. But he has black fur, and for the life of me I can't remember the color of the inside of his ears. We've had him 3 years. I should remember...

Cute story!!
:-)

Steve Hamilton said...

Years ago I lived in Dallas. One Sat. night I went bar hopping with about 6 other friends. We were pretty toasted as we made our way to the parking lot. We passed a tattoo parlor and all decided to get a tattoo. I was elected to go first. They all had a good laugh when I was finished because none of them had any intention of getting a tattoo. Luckily mine is in a place that neither I nor anyone else sees very often.

Crystal Phares said...

Lets see, I have a kokopelli, a sun and a moon, I have a star of life and I have a vampire rubber duckie. Next up is a zombie penguin! It is way cute!

ande said...

I am new to reading your blog. A friend keyed me into it a while back and I am like the biggest procrastinator ever, but I like this post. I love how people who write conintually look at something as seemingly inoculous as a bunny in a cage and in your case turn it into a pirate character. I did it with a pair of shoes the other day and a long standing discussion at my house is who's phone could date who elses. Who elses doesn't seem right but oh well. I have two tattoos and am hoping for a third but am eagerly awaiting a drawing from my 13 year old to use. One I can live with forever; yep that's what the bunny got too huh!

dizzblnd said...

My SIL raises show rabbits, so I know what you are talking about.

Anywhoo.. I am too much of a wimp to get ink done. I watched my cousin have a gecko tattooed on her ass.. it didn't look comfortable. So no tats for me

Melissa Marsh said...

No ink on me! Hubby has three - one on each shoulder and one right above his heart.

My question is, did the rabbit sit still for you to do the tatoo, or did you have to hold him down?

Travis Erwin said...

Melissa - He wasn't real keen on the whole thing but mostly he sat still. My old teacher had a hand on his back but the rabbit was calm , only kicking once or twice.

dizzblnd - What kind does she raise. And has she showed them long. Used to be a knew lots of people from all over the country.

D said...

I have a nautical star-fish on my wrist (some see it as a sign of protection). And a kittie on my lower back that was there looong before "Tramp Stamp" became popular. The kittie was supposed to have flames around it but the person who did it had a hit and miss reputation, and I turned out to get her on one of her "miss" days so I didn't go back for her to finish. I love getting inked, strangely as much as I HATE getting shots.

sex scenes at starbucks said...

Same for me--got to sell a novel.

Though I might get a cross on the back of my neck just to piss off mymom.

Travis' Wife said...

I have a tramp Stamp it is the Texas flag shaped like a heart.

Reb said...

I have no ink, but have always thought about it. Unfortunately I can't keep my hair colour the same from month to month, so I can't decide what I would be able to live with forever. I will get "Do Not resuscitate" across my chest.

laughingwolf said...

lol... #3 is obviously a pirate rabbit, and not a show one, but in a hasenpfeffer, who cares? :O

i have no inks on me....

eviljwinter said...

When Nita and I were dating, I decided I would get a tattoo. My pet name for her is "Sweet Rose," and I said I'd get a white rose.

My brother said, "You must want your ass kicked, which is what will happen if you get a rose tattoo."

So instead, I plan to get Marylin Monroe - Nita's favorite movie star - tattooed on my arm with the caption "Sweet Rose" underneath it.

And then maybe I'll get "Ozzy" tattooed on my knuckles.

Jess said...

No wonder you like John Irvings last book. LOL! Very nice of you to help out the kid, even if you had to ink a bunny to do it.

Carleen Brice said...

A yin yang symbol on my ankle-got it 20 years ago when only sailors and Cher had tattoos.

preTzel said...

I only have ink on my body when I write on myself or an ink pen gets possessed. I'm too much of a chicken*hit to go through with it. I want one but I don't want the pain. Maybe one that says "Shut up with the shuttin' up!" Or maybe one that says "Bitch - Perfectly Achieved!"

I don't know. I don't think those would go well with my profession. ;)

Patti said...

my ink consists of random sharpie marks of various colors...

Cloudia said...

YOU did those amateur tats! MOM!!
Just kidding. Enjoyed your words about this hard character. Glad to have the "little" things back, Travis. You're wonderful at off-hand humor. Aloha

TK42ONE said...

Two older ones on each shoulder-blade (one is the Imperial cog-style emblem, the other is the Rebel phoenix-style emblem). And one new one on my right calf that has my son's name and the family's brand (a bar-Q).

Lana Gramlich said...

I have no ink. It's against the religion I was raised in. Although I'm beyond non-religious at this point, I still honor my father's wish never to get a tattoo (he died 30 years ago or so now.) I've thought that if I ever did, however, I'd get Leela from Futurama (although I don't know where.) I like that mutant's style.
If "Plundered Booty" is published, will you get an eye-patch tattooed on your face? (Or perhaps a parrot on your shoulder blade. *LOL*)

grace said...

ARGH DAMN IT OPENID THING

ahem.

as I was saying, I am getting inked this Sunday. don't tell anyone it's a secret.

Amy said...

Travis,
I got a Texas A&M Tattoo back when I was going to school there. It's not in a place that many people see but my daughter used to ask me what it was. I would tell it that "mommy has an ouchy." That worked for a while and then one day when she was about 3 she said "mommy, how come your ouchy says Texas A&M." She's smarter than I thought!!!

Shauna Roberts said...

On my left upper arm, I have a large fleur de lis done in purples, greens, and gold, with the date "08-29-05" under it. I got inked one year after Katrina to honor the 1500-some people who died and to serve as a living testament to what happened in New Orleans and why.

When my first novel gets published, I plan to get another tattoo, but haven't decided what or where.

Snooty Primadona said...

Hey - I have pierced ears... Does that count? No? Oh. Then, no. But, my 25 yr. old son has a Pantera tattoo on his chest... which I'm okay with but it makes the hubby crazy. ;-)

Charles Gramlich said...

No tats for me. Never found anything I really needed to live with, or couldn't live without.

Michelle said...

I need some nude india ink to remove the tatoo I have. I won't say where or why I got it, but I wish I hadn't.

angel, jr. said...

I am not cool enough to have ink.

Barbara Martin said...

I don't have any tatoos; but, I had a registered show rabbit: a Palomino (cross between a New Zealand Red and a Flemish Giant), yes, Christopher Willis had a tatoo in his ear...three letters and the rest were numbers; and three Thoroughbred mares I owned had tatooes on their upper lip (becaused they had raced).

My nearest and dearest doesn't have one either.

the walking man said...

I got one. All sailors have a tat. No mom or anchor on me though, nor hula girl just a simple butterfly with near non existent colors now...What!?

Josh said...

i almost lost it thinking about a bunny with a tear drop tat. God thats a funny image.

Jason said...

I did end up getting several tattoos, but never one on my ear. I'm actually surprised I didn't.

Angie Ledbetter said...

This skill will come in handy if you ever have a novel character who's an inker. :)

Got two myself over 20 years ago. If/when my novel gets published, I may add a quill and ink image.

huddlekay said...

I have bookworm. Its a little green worm with glasses and a book. So cute!

Melanie Avila said...

I'd love to get a tattoo but I pass out when needles come near me so it's not happening anytime soon.

I saw the coolest tattoo a couple days ago: a woman took her son's first stick figure drawing he did of the two of them and had it inked on her wrist. He pointed it out to me right away. I think that's a great idea!

Poetry Sue said...

Everyone in my family has a tattoo (or two) Except my son. I have Piglet tattooed to my left upper-arm. He covers almost the whole area. I have had him for about 10 years. He was my first. I am a huge Piglet Fan. My other tattoo is on my left inner wrist. It is a custom piece (they both are, no wall art for me). It says "Big Sister" There is a matching tatoo on my youngest sister's inner right wrist. Her's says "Baby Sister"

Beth said...

I want a tatt...you game?

Lauren said...

That looks like one hard-core rabbit. I don't have any ink, I'm too flighty. I'd probably only like it for about a month and then hate it. :)

My friend (who is a 27 yo male) wants to get a balloon animal tattoo, I think that would be the funniest tattoo ever.

Erica Orloff said...

I have a Tibetan symbol on the inside of my left wrist to remind me to be compassionate, to breathe, and to remember we're all connected in one way or another. Guess that makes the buuny my pal.

;-)
E

pattinase (abbott) said...

Yikes. I don't think I could tattoo a bunny. They seem so scared under normal circumstances, I'd be afraid they'd code blue.

Mr. Shife said...

I got two tats. One is a fraternity tattoo on my ankle and the other is a tribal band on my arm. I wanted to get a full sleeve on my arm but I have not gotten the wife to sing off on that yet. She is probably right because I don't think it is going to look that hot in about 30 years when I am in my 60s.

alex keto said...

Travis,
I just visited the site and I see it has a flag on it saying "objectionable content." No kidding. Thought you might want to be aware.

alex keto said...

I logged out and came back. must have been a computer glitch on my end

Robin said...

Oh wow! Number one: my ears aren't even pierced! And number two: I agree with Charles Gramlich, I am a changleling, and so open to new ideas, what I believed even 10 years ago is passe now in my psyche. So why would I want a permanent symbol on my body for a fleeting idea? I have a friend who has tat's that are her childrens' names in chinese characters...yeah, kids are permanent, but why chinese? It's cool looking though.

I guess, if I had a tat, it would be a bonzai tree (the bodhi tree) like the one Buddha sat under before enlightenment zapped him. Just a lone bonzai, ankle maybe.

But the whole idea of something permanent with me is nuts...I am constantly evolving a changing and the only permanent thing I can think of would be your kiddos ya know?

It's weird, even when you don't think you have something to say, you sure do cause the rest of us to question, cuss and discuss!

Nnairda's said...

No tats here...poor bunny. :(

writtenwyrdd said...

I've gotten a tatoo, and I only have to say that if you get one, it's gonna hurt like the dickens and you should only get one in a place you don't mind and where it won't show if you want to dress up.

Aaron said...

Spartan silhouette on my right shoulder with "MOLON LABE" in Greek under it.

Twisted Lisa said...

I have given you an award!

Lemonade!

Junosmom said...

I guess I'm with Charles and Robin, I'd be afraid that 10 years from now, I'd not like what was on the tattoo. Of course if I get it now, 10 years from now it will have moved south out of sight, so no one will know. Still, not my style. One horse, OTH, has a freeze-brand.

Barrie said...

Travis, you are full of surprises! (I have no ink, well except what's in the cartridge of my printer!)

Kristina said...

I have three tats. One on my right, outer thigh, says, "Give me Liberty or Give me Death." My middle name's Liberty.... The one on my left, inner thigh is a bourbon bottle with a sailor's hat on it. It says Bourbon underneath it. Again, a name thing- part of my maiden name and my nickname in the Navy. The third one is on my left hip and is my sign- rams horns surrounded by fire. Really, it just looks like a blue V surrounded by fire, though.

I've been thinking about getting another one for about 10 years (I got the last one 13 years ago), but I can't figure out what to get. So, it'll have to wait.

Colleen said...

We had pet rabbits when we were kids. As rabbits do, they mated regularly and we'd go with Dad to an auction where the litters would be sold off. At the time, we figured other parents were buying them for their own kids. It was only many years later that I thought back on it and realized that a whole lot of bunny stew was had after those auctions. I am so glad I didn't know that then!