Or: One Drunken Night In Wichita Falls, Texas.
I'm 43 years old, a US Army veteran and have no tattoos.
When I was a kid, only people who wanted to be rebels and be different got tattoos. Now it seems every swinging dick out there has one.
What the hell is being different about getting a tattoo now? Every body's got them. So now I'm the antirebel! I'm the one who's different and unique because I don't have a tattoo!
But there was an almost in there...
It happened a long time ago, it involved copious amounts of beer, a weekend pass, four army buddies and a rusty 1971 Datsun B-210.
I did my basic training at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma in 1983. After basic a few of us were put on "Hold Over" for a few weeks while we were awaiting orders.
That meant a lot of idle time between picking up cigarette butts and painting black rocks white and white rocks black. Ah, the life of a private in the worlds strongest army!
Anyway, a few of us would head down to the enlisted men's club on Friday night to drink beer, shoot darts, play pool and drink more beer, talk about what badasses we were, drink more beer, wax poetic on how were were going to kick Ivan's ass all the way back to Moscow because we were THE Baddest of THE Badasses, and drink even more beer, dump dollar after dollar into the jukebox to listen to Bruce Springsteen & Tears for Fears, and drink even more beer. The four of our gang were sitting at a table this one particular Friday night and while I was pondering the three waitresses waiting on one table (or was that three tables being waited on my one waitress?) my buddy Brock said to me:
"Hey Wolfman! (that was my moniker at that time in my life...) Lets' got to Texas and get tattoos!"
"Sure" slurred I...
"Like, dude! we can all get the same one! We're brothers forever Dude!"
So me and Brock and our two other buddies hashed it over and decided it was a fabulous idea. So the four of us headed out to his car where he promptly puked his guts out for several minutes, produced an unopened bottle of Jack Daniels... We started passing the bottle back and forth as we drove out the main gate headed south...
Those of you who might ask, why go all the way to Texas from Ft. Sill to get Tattoos? Well, at that time Tattoo parlors were illegal as hell in Oklahoma and the closest one we heard of was in the closest town from Lawton, OK was in Wichita Falls...
We get there in the wee hours and drive around looking for the place... and we finally found it.
Now all during this time we were switching drivers because each one in turn was getting drunker by the minute as that bottle O' Jack was dwindling it's amber nectar...
I get behind the wheel for the last hour or so and by this time I'm pretty well sober... I think it's my Oirish genes that give me my cast iron liver...
So everyone files into the shop and looks over all the artwork... Pretty good stuff sez I, but I'm having my doubts.
I'm the last one. Everyone gets a cool dragon with a scroll with our basic training company nickname in it (The Wolfhounds, how ironic) and this is where I say,
Are you fucking crazy?
I'm not getting one of those!
I was ribbed and had my balls busted all the way back to the Fort... But when the weekend was over, although no one said it... There was regrets being felt...
IT's really amazing why none of us were locked up... We were that drunk.
Oh, to be 17 and stupid again!
On second thought, nah!
And so goes my short, sad but poignant story of why I'm the AntiRebel!
No tats on me!
Copyright 2009 Thomas J Wolfenden