Tattoo removals


Down the street from my apartment, behind the Battery Exchange, is a billboard that advertises tattoo removal. It plays with perspective. A large person with a full back tattoo has tiny window washers on it, squeegeeing the tattoo, returning the back to a normal skin tone.


If only removing tattoos were that easy. I image the process to be long and painful. But the idea of the billboard makes it seem that tattoos are no longer permanent. They can be wiped. Or altered, covered up or added upon. Permanence is malleable. Nothing is forever.

I have a tattoo. My brother got matching ones. The same marking. My grandfather's initials designed into a symbol he used to engrave on jewelry he designed. When he died we put his initials on our arms—it was his brand. He was gone forever but never forgotten. There's one thing about permanence. Something lives forever if you burn it in your mind. Write it on your arm. We write to remember.

This symbol is a reminder to us, for the rest of our da,s of who our grandpa was and what he meant to us. Did we need the tattoo to remember forever? What is forever? Because I will one day be gone. My skin will deteriorate. But maybe in the future I'll be able to tell the next generation why I have this tattoo and the story that goes with it. And when they ask, I will make sure to let them know that I never thought of removing it. 

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