Opinion Columns & Blogs

With a body like mine, who needs tattoos?

I want it understood at the outset that I am not the sort of person who buys a shirt, wears it three times and then gives it to the Salvation Army.

On the other hand, I am not the sort of person who normally wears the same shirt for 27 years, never removing it from my fabulous body, never changing that aging shirt for a newer, more jazzy model.

On the other hand, 27 years ago, I bought a black and white, striped shirt for yardwork and recognized instantly that it was a keeper.

Of course there came a day when that shirt didn’t look so great — just as you could say the same thing about my body. My 28-inch waist grew to 34 inches.

That shirt was stretched out of shape from being wrapped around a larger torso that jeopardized buttons and ran the risk of putting people’s eyes out. I was compelled to recognize that an aging, tattered lifetime shirt is not a rational everlasting part of a person’s wardrobe, the way something like a body tattoo is.

Even if that shirt had maintained its strength and its warmth, it became an eyesore — a torn breast pocket from a harvesting battle among stickery raspberries, yellow paint on the collar and a used wad of bubblegum in one of the shirt’s armpits.

Unlike tattoos, shirts were never meant to be eternal. Nonetheless, I shed a tear when I realized my shirt was on its last legs. (On second thought, how can a shirt, which has nothing but arms, have last legs?)

After such long and loyal service, my once-respected and invaluable garb deserved to enter dead-shirt heaven.

A great shirt is kind of like a great dog. Unfortunately, humans live longer than their pets and their shirts.

I realize other shirts, now waiting in the stores, are ready to roll any time I’m ready. I am grateful to that great tailor in the sky for keeping an inventory of young shirts waiting.

However, I will admit I am puzzled why so many modern people adorn themselves with an eternal body decoration that is eventually out of date, instead of buying a terrific new shirt like mine.

Fortunately, it occurred to me one day that there is another choice with more potential for pleasurable adornment than either tattoos or shirts.

Tattoos are so permanent. They eventually get all saggy on the old skin of the owner. Most ghastly of all, a tattoo can go way out of style long before a tattooed person dies.

Yes, it is also true that a great shirt can go old and gray and on its way to shirt heaven. But a person can as easily acquire a wonderful new shirt

If I may, let me suggest to the millions of you who sport tattoos that neither the flimsy, worn-out shirt nor the saggy washed-out tattoos are the best option. The blatant need is for multiple shirts and non-permanent tattoos.

I bought half a dozen temporary tattoos last month and have already put one on my manly shoulder with a kind of wet stamp pad.

That first one is a little animal that appears to be some sort of cartoon badger. The badger lasted about two weeks, even with my daily showers.

I don’t know how much permanent tattoos cost, but I have heard they run several hundred dollars.

My beautiful badger cost me $1.85.

I can hardly wait until the next temporary art show on my body — a cocky little Rhode Island red rooster. Once you see him, you’ll be crowing about him and me for weeks to come.

Contact Bill Hall at wilberth@cableone.net or at 1012 Prospect Ave., Lewiston, ID 83501.