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Tracey D. Smith

Tracey D. Smith

Posted: October 29, 2010 02:47 AM

When I was born, my mother delivered a smooth innocent baby that was about to be molded like a piece of clay to form a creation that equated pure art. The beauty of birth is the newness of thy own skin, unscathed, no scratches, abrasions, just luminous skin that has the softness of an Alpaca lambskin rug. I'm quite sure no mother has visions of their child growing up to select body art as if they were choosing a Christian Audigier hoodie with a matching hat. The items of clothing versus the body art or tattoos were like comparing apples to oranges. These were pieces of clothing that could be easily removed, and replaced with another ensemble that would or could be fashionably appropriate. Whereas the body art was colorful, brash, obnoxious, stereotypic, cheap, permanent, and similar to the mark of a branding iron; inevitably you have become a slave to your poor choices.

What goes through the mind of a student who has had the luscious opportunity to be selected to attend their college of choice and to gain an education that will allow them to be self-sufficient, when they make a decision that may or is highly likely to be deleterious to their prospective employment? Honestly, the first thought that crosses my mind when I see a student with tattoos, I could care less if it's a heart or barbed wire, it's an insignificant thought of self when they can choose to adorn themselves with ink that is permanent. This popular form of self-expression and empowerment has graduated from the low-riding "tramp stamp," to paragraphs visible on the arm or leg. Does this brazen act mean that the victim is "readable" or perhaps are they worthy to be on display at a local art museum? Does anyone ever wonder what the side effects of the infliction may be? Are there any concerns of hygiene at the facility? What if it affects a future relationship? Do you think tattoo removal is as easy as White Out? What if you are lucky enough to be chosen to enter medical school and your career choice is oncology? A physician is a person who is held in high esteem, people trust their physicians with their life and clarity of decision making. Do you honestly believe I would allow a tatted physician to offer me a diagnosis? Or what about a tatted kindergarten teacher, who will guide and bestow knowledge to my pre-schooler?

As of recent I am meeting college students who aspire to enter the modeling industry and unfortunately they are discovering that there are numerous agencies that embrace the choice to deny selection due to the ill-fated tattoo. Who wants a candidate who will have photos taken that will require digital removal of the body art? This is an exorbitant cost for the agency, and most times can be a deal breaker for certain campaigns. The regret and remorse is tenable. I can actually feel, hear and see that they wish they could erase these ugly designs, especially when an opportunity has been lost due to their lack of sound decision making authority. In my mind, I automatically associate tattoos with someone that is inebriated on substance, or residing in a trailer park eating Spam, or riding a Harley like "Easy Rider" in Venice Beach with a tightly rolled joint behind their ear -- bottom line, he or she would not be my primary care physician, attorney or accountant. Unfortunately when we are young at heart, we make foolish decisions that can either remain with us as constant reminders, or we can receive a second chance to rid ourselves of the mistake, but the memory is fresh as a clean shirt. A tattoo is very similar to an unwanted pregnancy; you cannot change your mind once the creation has begun to morph like an amoeba in a Petri dish. The premium channels, i.e. MTV, VH1, etc., stress focused decision making while being a teen or student. My hopes are to not berate your decisions but to offer you an altruistic approach to prevent cause and affect mistakes.

High school was difficult due to peer pressure and bullying, but by the time college has arrived, wouldn't you think that no amount of pressure could allow one to succumb to actions that could hinder your future? I am proud to say that I have no tattoos, and no desire to have one, regardless of how small or if hidden. Perhaps I'm not sadistic enough to enjoy the incessant poking of a needle that has been "only God knows where," or perhaps I'm afraid I might just wake up and smell the coffee and want this ugly artwork off my skin. These tattoo artists aren't Toulouse-Lautrec or Manet, they are some grimy individuals that offer a catalog of pain and enticement. Do you believe they have advanced degrees from Dartmouth? Their only concern is your parent's hard earned cash, and the rowdiness you exhibit as you leave in visible pain and pride with your tattoo preciously covered in clear plastic bandages. So to all incoming Freshman or graduating Seniors, who feel a surge of "badassness" and independence, when you take that first sip of grain alcohol and your friends coerce you to go to the tattoo parlor, you should think long and hard about the investment your family has made in you. Their child is their priceless commodity, and they are entitled to a return on investment. If your parents wanted a candidate for the freak show, they happily would've invested their money in a Roth IRA fund and sent you to a traveling Renaissance Fair. Think long and hard about the stupidity of a single night of substance and clouded judgment as well as the ramifications that can occur. Think about yourself. Be selfish and stoic in your decisions and remember; only you hold the key to your destiny. As an ex-pharmaceutical executive, I will be candid and state; that I would not give a nod of approval on anyone that had a visible tattoo, or anything that could prevent residual business in a territory where conservative residents dominated. I'm not shallow; I just wouldn't allow someone else's foolishness to infiltrate my earning potential. If you are considering your future, only you hold the key, drive responsibly because most reckless drivers lose their privileges.

 

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