I went to get a tattoo on my arm and I thought I’d have a bit of fun with the tattooist, while at the same time setting a challenge which would hopefully give me a truly unique and thought-provoking piece of ink art to wear with pride for, well, forever.
I told the tattooist I wanted something very special, but it had to follow a set of specific, inflexible rules.
This is what I asked for:
Three words, in the tattooist’s chosen artistic style. I honestly wasn’t bothered about the type of tattoo font that would be used because the words were going to be the focus of the tattoo.
I told the tattooist the words must NOT include anything racist, sexist, or anything else that could be interpreted as any form of ‘hate’.
There must be no curse words, not even damn or hell or bloody or heck.
No words that could realistically offend anyone (which we all know is impossible these days, but let’s pretend we’re still living in a sane world where being professionally offended hasn’t been invented yet).
Nothing about any identifiable nationality or religion, or national culture.
No real names of any person, living or dead.
No names of fictional characters.
No countries, towns or cities, in fact no place names of any kind.
No animals. Because we can’t hurt the animals.
Nothing at all about gender or race.
No mention of war. Or peace.
And, finally, the overriding stipulation that the tattoo must be completely controversial, no ambiguity about it, and that even people who would not find it personally insulting should be seriously questioning my sanity getting such a tattoo.
The tattooist thought about it for about twenty seconds, started to smile and told me to sit back and close my eyes.
Half an hour later I opened my eyes and looked at the fresh tattoo on my arm.
It said: Tattoos are stupid.