I wish I could say I was drunk but that simply wasn’t the case. It was just one of those days. You know the type. You wake up, go through your morning routine and then between thoughts about getting a hair cut and how cold it looks outside, you decide that now is the perfect time to permanently inject yourself with ink. But I digress, this story really starts with an UZI.
I woke up around noon in my apartment overlooking Seattle. My roommate was gone and I was hungry. I got up, walked into the kitchen in my underwear and opened my refrigerator. It was full of steak and beer. I made myself a steak for breakfast and sat thoughtlessly enjoying my cow meat. I looked at my man-meal and made a decision. Before the day was over, I was going to shoot something and I was going to get a tattoo. It was a Sunday morning.
In times like these, there is only one person I know to call. I grabbed my iPhone and dialed his number. He answered on the fifth ring, apparently he was just waking up too.
“What up?” Mel Gray said half asleep.
“Want to go to a gun range?”, I blurted out.
“Hell yeah! Right now?”
“OK, give me a second, I’ll pick you up in the Vette.”
15 minutes later, Mel picked me up and we drove to Wade’s Gun Range. Neither of us had ever been there before but we figured with a name like Wade’s it had to be good. Between the two of us, we hadn’t shot a gun more than a dozen times. We walked into the range and tried to act like we had some idea of what we were doing.
“You boys ever been here before?”, the 300 pound country star wannabe asked.
I lied and said yes.
“Which one do you want?” he motioned to the gun counter.
Up until that point, my knowledge of guns had come from Counter Strike, Perfect Dark and Golden Eye. I pointed at the black one that looked cool. The store clerk (we will call him Bubba) asked for our drivers licenses and which target we wanted to shoot at. We chose zombies and grabbed ammo and ear muffs.
Mel and I walked into the range and loaded the gun. He went first. He cocked the gun and pulled the trigger. Instantly he was hooked. He finished the entire clip in about 20 seconds.
I stepped up next and sheepishly got into position. I lined up what I figured was the lining up shooting thingy and pulled the trigger. For the rest of the clip I released unsavory hell upon the hanging zombie target.
Going back and forth we quickly finished the ammo and went back to get a more powerful gun. After two rounds of this we went back more confidently and asked Bubba what was the most powerful thing he had. He looked up and down and asked if we had money. (Always a good sign) Eyeing us skeptically, he said “Well, we have a fully automatic UZI”.
When it was my turn, everyone on the range stopped to watch. I had no idea how much kickback there would be but had a big goofy smile on my face. I pulled the trigger and instantly (in true mafia henchmen style) devastated my target. The speed of the shots forced the gun upward and I fought to keep my aim. I finished the clip, turned around and let out a big goofy chuckle. That felt really good.
On the way back to Seattle, I did a quick search for a tattoo shop on my phone. I vaguely remembered my friend saying the best one in town was in Wallingford. I told Mel to take me there instead of back home. I hadn’t decided what I wanted yet but I was 30% sure it was not going to be a butterfly.
I got to the tattoo parlor still undecided about how I was going to permanently change my body. Unfazed, I asked for the earliest appointment. The clerk (we will call him Wayne) looked at me amused and told me to come back in 45 minutes.
Mel left and my other friend Scott joined me. We went back to my place and brainstormed on what I should get. Entertained by the situation, he asked me where I was going to get it. Like a pro wrestler talking to a ballerina, I replied, “My butt cheek obviously”.
We brainstormed some ideas on the whiteboard in my room before stopping on a final answer. It was done. It summed me perfectly.
I went to the tattoo place and they quickly designed the artwork. They printed it on fake tattoo paper (to use as a stencil) and asked me to take my pants off and hop on the table. The artist was a hot woman in her late 30s and stared me in the face.
“I am going to be honest, I don’t know how you are going to keep this clean given its location”. I assured her of my personal hygiene practices as I sat on the tattoo bench with my pants in the corner.
My friend Scott stayed in the lobby and the tattoo artist and I made small talk about the ins and outs of the tattoo business. (Turns out they don’t get a lot of returned product) The process itself felt like getting pinched each time the needle hit skin. It took about five minutes total and afterwards felt like I had been punched in the butt.
When it was over, I looked at it in the mirror.
The deadline for my life list was spelled out in clear typeface. There was no backing out now, this commitment was the real deal.
It was at that moment that I realized that given the tattoo’s position on my body, I would never see it facing the correct direction. I would only ever see it in mirrors. I laughed and went home to grab dinner. It had been a long day and I still needed to figure out what I wanted to do tomorrow.