So, when I turned 40, I got this crappy little spider tattoo on my right calf. Crappy because it was little, and I’m 6’3″ with calves like railroad ties, and it was off the wall tattoo flash, no personalization, nothing added. Boring. It was sort of my mid-life crisis. The joke was, it was a secret memento mori for my ex who had the bad taste to die on me. He was black. I was now a widower. Black. Widow.
Anyway, I laughed.
I was never really happy with it, though. I wanted more, something that fit my Gorilla Monsoon calf. But it took me 40 years to decide to get a tattoo, thankfully it only took me 15 years to figure out how I wanted it fixed. Mostly because of Austin Grove, the tattoo artist who took my crappy, half-assed Photoshop collages and came up with the tattoos I have on my arms, that I thought I might have found someone to do the work I wanted on my leg.
In the intervening years, a bunch of other people with equally bad taste decided to up and die on me [parents, brother, you get the idea], so it occurred to me that a memento mori for one might just as well be for 6–and with 6 you get eggroll.
In my head, I saw the spider, in a web that wrapped completely around my piano leg, with the skulls of the fallen. Very Viking, I thought. I may be lying to myself. but here it is.
I gave Austin my idea, some spider web photos for reference, and he drew it freehand on the day. Pretty impressive. These pictures were taken right after he was finished, on the floor of the Hilton Hotel and Convention Center, home of the Electric City Tattoo Convention. The lighting is awful. Sorry.
Then, for my literary/writerly side, an image and quote from my favorite author of all time, Mr. Kurt Vonnegut. The caricature is his own and the quote reads, “No good at life, but very funny sometimes with the commentary.” Which fits me to a tee, I think. Something I wouldn’t mind having for my epitaph, so you might want to make a note.
Anyway. Adventures in mid-life crisis-ing from an actor, the highest form of drama queen.
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