10 June, 2010

Who Put The Dick In Dictionary?

Who Put the Dick In Dictionary?


I’m blocking again. I blame it on the antidepressants. Why? It’s easy. Oh, and some antidepressants are known to have creative blocking effects. It’s kind of an unfortunate dichotomy. I mean, on one hand, I’m not wallowing in the throes of the familiar mire that is dysthymia. On the other, I am prevented from doing what it is I enjoy to do, so I’m closer to those throes. I’m not a big fan of the word throes, nor am I a fan of chemical happiness. I take the pills for my mom more than I take them for myself. It keeps her happy to know that I am trying to better my mental self. I’d rather be miserable and productive than medicated and blocked.

I’m sure you’ve read this one by now. A soccer player (and yes it’s called soccer because I’m American) recently got a tattoo on his chest that is ornate and dramatic script. The phrase that he chose to share with all of those fortunate enough to see his man chest was “Justify your existance.” Apparently this guy needed that prophetic imperative to be shared with everyone. Hey, that’s cool, bro. People routinely have words tattooed on them that have some sort of meaning. I know people with song lyrics. I know people with pearls of wisdom that were best remembered because they’ve been carved into their skin for all of forever. Words are an interesting choice for tattoos, but getting back to the point (blame the antidepressants), this soccer player got the thing on the thing, whatever. What makes this a noteworthy story is that the soccer player and his artist forgot that existence is spelled with an E, not an A. At first, I laughed. Then I felt bad. Then I laughed again. Then I scratched my cat’s neck. Then I drank a Pepsi. Then I ate a Hot Pocket. Then I laughed again.

Those of you who have read me all these weeks know that I can’t spell. I am the worst speeler there is. I own that. I’m not ashamed to admit it. I’m not all that proficient in the department of putting the letters in the proper order to create words. But when I read this little story about the soccer player, I was inclined to feel the embarrassment on behalf of everyone involved. You know when you have that ill feeling in your gut for someone else’s shame. Like, dude, I can’t believe that’s happening to you. But then I thought, what a fucking idiot. I mean, we don’t have to go through all of that stuff about how tattoos are forever and permanent and never going away and any other way you want to say until death do you part. Any intelligent, upright standing member of the dominant race of animal on the planet ought to ensure that what he is getting tattooed onto his skin is exactly accurate.

In turn, how much of the onus is on the artist? Is it his job to say, wait a sec. That ain’t right. Or maybe he didn’t notice. And if he didn’t notice, then is it his responsibility to fix it for the soccer guy? I guess if a client hands an artist something and says, “Make this a tattoo on me,” then all the artist has to do is to do what he does best. Is it the artist’s job to check the soccer player’s spelling? The little article about this soccer guy’s tattoo snafu talked about other misspellings, most notably how a woman returned to a tattoo shop to chastise the artist for spelling her name wrong on her man. The artist showed her the copy that he took the spelling from, a piece of copy that the boyfriend provided, proving that the boyfriend requested the misspelled result. That’s an awesomely funny story to me because I am one hundred percent certain that the boyfriend got his ass chewed out when the broad got home. Dude, spelling your dame’s name wrong on a tattoo totally blows guessing way too high on the question, “How much do you think I weigh?” (which a man can never answer correctly.)

Another funny and similar scenario is the cat who gets the foreign language tattoo only to find out later that it isn’t accurate to what he thought it meant. The article explains a such scenario where a a guy got “The pain of discipline is nothing like the pain of disappointment” in Arabic, when in fact his tattoo reads “The pain of discipline is something similar to the pain of disappointment” which clearly defeats the entire purpose. Hilarious. It also talks about how David Beckham (Becks to his fiends, but not me because I’m not his friend by no specific intention of my own) has a Hindi tattoo of his wife’s name. Except the name is spelled wrong. I guess, from certain point of view, I can excuse the foreign language misspelling mishap if the wearer’s native tongue is not that language. Still, I would really like to believe that people are much more thorough in their research. Or am I giving people too much credence? I’m probably giving people too much credence.

These stories are funny, and in all seriousness, are rare. I think. Any artist worth his salt (which is a dumb expression) would likely be very certain of what he’s doing. And if the client is insistent on getting the misspelling, then the artist (the one with salt worth from earlier) probably ought to make that very, very clear. Dude, this is wrong. It doesn’t take much. I remember when I was little, I saw a television court show like Wapner or Judge Judy or something where a guy was suing a tattoo artist because he found out later that the giant chinese symbol the artist tattooed on the cat’s chest actually meant something like “Idiot” or “fool” or something. I don’t remember exactly. The story was that the guy was a dick and the artist who could read the symbols intentionally tattooed a different character on him. That is a fantastic asshole tax. I love asshole tax. Like when you’re man breaks up with you and you lie to him and tell him that you already gave him back the most comfortable hooded sweatshirt ever made just so that you can keep it forever. Asshole tax.

Still, there is a trust and (at least there ought to be) an ethical responsibility of your artist. He probably ought to have a standard by which he practices his craft. That ethical concern ought to manifest itself in, “You sure you really want this?” on a dumbassed tattoo. Like the ones that are all over that website of dumb tattoos. At the same time, the artist is just doing his job. Fuck the client for being too stupid to know what he wants. I mean, if I order a drink at the coffee shop that is exactly not what I want, I can’t really bitch at the barista for making it. You’re right. That comparison was terrible and in no way comparable to getting a tattoo. Blame it on the pills.

At it’s core, this little story is funny, and I’ll continue to laugh at the idea that somewhere someone right now is getting a tattoo that is misspelled. It doesn’t matter whose fault it is really. I mean, aren’t you glad that I didn’t turn this into a referendum about how kids aren’t taught important things like spelling in school anymore? I could have gone that direction. Like how people are trying to get history books to start after 1870, completely eliminating all the founding fathers and Betsy Ross stuff. I won’t go there, though. I won’t even go to where people are just a big ball of stupid and need to be melted down and reformed into something else; something useful like food for zoo elephants. Stay beautiful, kids.

Talk to A. Robert Basile on AIM at Basilephone
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1 comment:

  1. I read this one and didn't want to scream. Good jbo! (Well isn't that just ironic.) I think as an artist, you want to put the best material out for future business so it's best if you double check the stupid. I also find it funny, I mean, where would I get that sort of entertainment if artists didn't double check?