He asked for a 13, but they drew a 31

Garrison Ebie

Self-expression is an important aspect of young people’s lives. If it’s not standing out, it’s at least the intention to separate oneself from the rest of the pack and feel special. An individual’s sense of self can’t be underestimated because we all sort of care what other people think about us.

You can deny this and say, “I don’t care!” but by doing that, there’s a good chance you’re just reaffirming the notion that you just don’t want people to think you care. If people thought you didn’t care, you would still care because all of us want our peers to understand us. So get over it. You do care.

The most prevalent artifact of individualism today has to be tattoos. Forcibly inserting permanent ink onto one’s skin is without a doubt the most defiant thing someone can do to label themselves as one of a kind.

People often go to incredible measures to uniquely identify themselves. Though, over the course of time, this uniqueness is copied by others and sometimes leads to a trend. The will of the anti-consumer can be turned into a fashion statement with a single commercial break on MTV. What used to be considered a mark of rebellion becomes something kids can get for their 16th birthday, too.

I’ve seen thousands of tattoos. Some are oozing with creativity. My favorite has to be a living room setup, complete with a sofa, lamp, television and end table on someone’s torso. I also met this other dude who had “I love … ” crudely written on his left bicep. Apparently he started it in prison back in the ’80s but before he could finish it, the skin got too bloody and eventually got infected, making it look even worse.

Some tattoos make me wonder what the whole point is. I’m talking about girls who get what seems like the exact same design on their lower backs. It’s all variations of the same butterflies and the same flowers. And I’m sorry, ladies, but after you pop out your first kid, your skin back there will fold over, stretch out, fade away and never look right again.

There are also the guys who get the exact same tough-looking barbed wire on their arms or the cookie-cutter crosses that 10,000 other bros probably got that same day. This isn’t individualism. This is just mindless monkey-see, monkey-do behavior. If you’re planning on getting a tattoo, for Christ’s sake, get something that hasn’t been done a million times.

At this point of my life, it’s interesting that I’ve never bothered to get some ink done or even pierced anything. I’m vaguely paranoid about needles but I don’t think fear ever really stopped me from doing anything before. So what’s left here is me just being concerned that I will probably hate whatever tattoo I get 20 years down the road. After all, we’re talking about a mark that lasts until the final dead skin cell rots off my decaying corpse six feet underground. That’s the kind of commitment I’m afraid of.

No one needs pictures and words ingrained into their bodies in order to make a difference and express themselves. Personality is the ultimate expression. Character, not a blob of ink, is something people should be proud of. You’re either an interesting person with something decent to contribute or just a really boring one who blends in with all the other boring people. All the tattoos in the world won’t change that.

Garrison Ebie is a senior electronic media production major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at[email protected].