602: Words Tattooed

If you had to get one phrase tattooed on your body, what would it be?


Full episode script

 

Way back in episode 108, we talked about the philosophical, psychological, and historical context of tattoos in some societies. While that context is very complicated, and remains complicated for many, it’s significantly more common now to have a tattoo than it may have been historically.

 

With that in mind, tattoos are also much easier to get, and that’s both a blessing and a curse. There’s plenty of people who get a word or phrase tattooed on their body. For many, the choice is one of deep personal significance and meaning. For others, the decision is not taken quite so seriously.

 

In 2014, a Canadian model by the name of Vin Louis took the whole idea of tattooing words on their body a few extra steps. He had random words and phrases tattooed all over his body, especially his face and neck, in an attempt to set himself apart from the rest of the models in his field. Given the fact that his name is not a household name, one could estimate how well that may have worked.

 

There are also other methods of getting words permanently etched on their body, without having to make so many decisions. There’s a German artist who takes getting a phrase tattooed to a different level. He has a deep conversation of an hour or two with each subject, and if the conversation goes well he selects a phrase to tattoo on the person, without their direct input or OK.

 

Or, if you’re a fan of the Allusionist podcast, there’s the recent Skin Story episode, where author Shelly Jackson is tattooing a story, word by word, on volunteers.

 

Then again, there’s a certain power to that, as opposed to picking a “carpe diem” piece of flash off the wall.

 

As to me personally? Though I know I am not the first, I am considering a tattoo of the Rilke quote “Love the questions themselves.”

This script may vary from the actual episode transcript.