It's odd how I have reacted to attaining different ages over the years. My 21st birthday was celebrated by splitting a bottle of Pinch with a friend. Nearly three decades later I still can't even stand the smell of Scotch. I don't recall how I marked my 30th, but I do remember that turning 35 was a tough one for me and I wanted as little attention paid to my birthday as possible.
I started to show symptoms of what my partner Ed refers to a "Jeff's first mid-life crisis" as I neared the age of 40. I found myself feeling quite moody, and making odd comments like "I have no friends" and "what happens if I wake up one morning and I'm not creative any longer?" To get me out of my funk, a committee of friends was called into action to create a little boy's cowboy birthday party for me. Since I was a kid I've been fascinated with all things "cowboy" and "Cowboy Jeffie" has been a long-time nickname. The guests to the birthday party were required to dress in cowboy (or cowgirl) artire and all gifts were cowboy-related childrens' toys. It still ranks as one of the best parties I've ever had - or been to for that matter.
A personal method of acknowledging my 40th year was to get my ear pierced. I'd thought about it for years and always chickened out. Then, on a talk show, I saw actor Harrison Ford discussing the fact that he'd recently had his ear pierced at a little shop in a mall. If Indiana Jones could get his ear pierced, I certainly could do the same. Ed didn't think I would actually do it - but he still went out and bought me the gift certificate to have it done. One day I went to the Pioneer Place mall here in Portland and had my ear pierced by a woman with numerous fascinating visible piercings (and I'm sure a few that were not as evident). It was not an unpleasant experience - and it's been a great reason to collect jewelry in the years since.
I decided to "mark" my 50th in some permanent manner as well. A couple years ago I suggested that I should get a tattoo, or get a nipple pierced, before hitting the half-century mark. Ed vetoed the piercing immediately! Getting a tattoo was on my mental list of "Things to do before I turn 50" so, it did seem like the best option.
The new quandry in regards to the tattoo was "what" and "where." Some suggested that I have my own logo tattooed somewhere on my body. It could be considered great marketing and the tat would be a tax-deductible business expense. I wasn't sure about taking my LogoMotives "branding" to that extreme. I'm certainly not taking on my 50th birthday surrendering to an age that seemed so old when I was a kid. I decided to let 50 know exactly how I felt with a tattoo of a nice lip print on my rear-end, as in "kiss my ass, 50!" Several friends submitted possible lipstick prints on bar napkins and laser paper - and my friend Shawn's beautiful lips (above) won out over her 13-year-old daughter and others.
On Friday I stopped by the great neighborhood tattoo studio,Infinity Tattoo, to make an appointment. I'm glad I did. The owner, Paul Zenk. explained that they had been booked for two months in advance, but just had a cancellation for 4:00 Saturday. All in the studio had a great laugh when I told them what I wanted tattooed on what part of my body.
The tattoo artist called about 3:00 p.m. Saturday, asking if I could come by earlier than planned so he could then enjoy the rest of the beautiful afternoon with his wife and kids. I was in the middle of preparations for a BBQ dinner celebrating Ed's birthday, Mother's Day, Ed's sister's birthday and my birthday. I told Ed's Mom I needed to leave for a little while as I was getting a tattoo on my ass. She looked at me and said "Jeff, like I'm going to believe that!" When she realized I was serious, the look on her face was priceless. She then asked, "But why aren't you having it done where people can see it?" I guess she doesn't really know me very well...
Just as I got to the great little studio, Paul's young daughter came in to ask if her dad could come out and play. He responded with "Not until I tattoo lips on Jeff's ass." His daughter perked up with "Lips on his ass - can I watch?" She was immediately escorted out of the studio by her mother, who had just come in from working in the beautiful garden surrounding the building.
Paul transferred Shawn's lips to my right butt cheek and mixed the inks to what we felt was a great red lipstick color. The tattooing itself was not really painful. Instead, it felt like a series of electrical shocks - or maybe bee stings - on my rear-end. When he was done with the tattoo, Paul had me take a look in a full-length mirror and then show the completed art to a couple women in the studio. One of them said, "Oh my God, it looks just like someone has kissed your ass!" Mission accomplished!
I was a bit sore that evening - but three glasses of a nice Umbrian white wine helped me to sleep just fine. I called my friend Shawn yesterday and referred to her as an "ass-kisser." She said she felt so proud and almost started crying when I had determined that her lips where going to be tattooed on my gluteus maximus. (I'm not sure how her husband Greg really feels about his wife's lips being permanently adhered to my behind.) Things are still a bit tender this morning and I'm following the Infinity Tattoo aftercare instructions closely. I'm in the "wash gently and apply lotion 3-4 times a day" phase. In a few days all will be healed. Hopefully my bussed butt will be ready to be unveiled on my birthday this next weekend. I will be saying goodbye to my 40's - and the years between 50 and 60 had better watch out!
© 2006 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives.