Why I Did a Thing

Last night I went and got my first tattoo. If you know me well then you probably know I’ve never expressed interest in getting a tattoo, or tattoos in general. I’m not against them, though. Most of my friends have them and I married a woman with one (now two). So I think to a portion of my friends and family it may come as a shock. Well, this is why I did this thing.

I guess I should start with why I haven’t gotten a tattoo, yet. Being an engineer I have always designed anything I do to be reversible. I hate permanent change. If I design or build it you better believe you can take it apart with minimal impact. So something like a tattoo really goes against my grain. Yes, you can get them removed but the cost and effort involved isn’t feasible to me. Any time I’ve thought of getting a tattoo my first instinct has always been “no”. It’s just been a feeling. When I earned my black belt at 18 most of my class got one of the patches we wear tattooed on their chests. Even when presented with this I didn’t feel a draw to it. Working on the space program was the same feeling. I saw some great space tattoos, but nothing really spoke to me. The thought of getting something like a logo or symbol still doesn’t gel with me. If anything I could see maybe Mass Effect or Fallout, but who knows. Then again, my new tattoo is sort of a nod to Dragon Age which is a franchise I love.

So what made me finally pull the trigger? It sounds like I’m someone that would never be decisive enough to do this, ever. Well, a few years ago I spent an afternoon with Wil Wheaton and some friends. This was right after he got his second tattoo, a large octopus along his forearm. He was in his 40’s. I took the chance to pick his brain and ask why he finally made this decision and he had some of the same thoughts and reservations I did. Just talking to someone that wasn’t gung-ho ink away was nice and helped me open up a bit. From there I started to look around and spend some time observing what other people had done, and saw someone do a piece of medieval armor. That got me thinking a bit about animal skins and non-symbol tattoos and I looked up what people had done for reptiles. For the first time ever I didn’t cringe at the thought of getting something done, so I knew I was headed down the right road.

To be honest, it also meant a great commitment to my pub, the Cloak & Blaster. I now have a giant forearm tattoo. If the C&B fails chances are slim that I’d be able to go back to a regular corporate desk job. I have faith in my company, and it’s now literally written on my arm.

Why Dragon scale?

Let’s be honest, it just looks bad ass. But, there’s more. I’ve always loved reptiles, dragons in particular. They’re my go to fantasy animal. At one point I was even looking at the rules for importing Komodo Dragons. To me they represent strength, dignity, and a fierceness that isn’t matched by anything else. I mean, they’re pretty much the boss fight in any fantasy game and movie in existence. But, they’re also portrayed as mentoring, wise, protective creatures. They embody just about everything I admire all in one shot. When it came time to do something permanent, this struck out at me.

The Look

Now that I knew what I wanted, it was time to dial in what I actually wanted. I did some research online and found some cool ideas, but the thought of torn skin revealing dragon scale underneath really got me excited. I like to think underneath I live by a lot of the same noble features of the dragons I love so much, and I thought a great way to show that was through battle. So to me this represents having gone through a tough fight and revealing what truly lies beneath. I chose the color purple since it’s my favorite, and the artist suggested the green as a great compliment. I think they work really well together and I’m very happy with it. My artist was fantastic and did a wonderful job imagining exactly what I described. If you live in Orlando or Cocoa I can’t recommend Trevor at Studio 13 enough.

I know this will bring a whole new aspect to my life. No doubt I’ll have judgement and negativity from those close to me as well as strangers I encounter. But like the dragon I’ll shake it off and continue on my journey.


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