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Neck Mods And War And Donate A Book
I am at the bookstore writing for you cats and kittens. You guys know that. I’m here everyday. Writing and drinking coffee and making mundane conversation with bookstore acquaintances about things like weather and which records I’ve been listening to recently. What you guys may not know, however, is that Barnes & Noble is running a holiday book drive. No, they aren’t paying me. But I just thought I’d mention this because donating a book to the holiday book drive is a good thing to do, and you all should do it the next you’re at Barnes & Noble. Think of a book that you read when you were nine or ten. Now think of a toy that you had. Which had a greater impact on your life? I think you guys can see my point here. So go do it; I did. (I got “Don Quixote”) Reading is more important than you think.
There aren’t too many things that I like. My beautiful girlfriend, movies, some music, baseball, some family and friends. That’s about it. I like coffee too. And books. With that, I can safely say that I hate a lot of things. I think one thing that makes me hate more than some other things is lack of common sense and lack of responsibility. OK, so those are two things but I tethered them because I think it works better for what we’re going to talk about. So let’s talk about it.
Representative Ron Crimm, a republican from Kentucky, has filed a bill that would require, by law, tattoo shops to display a sign that explains that tattoos to the face, neck, calves and shins, and forearms prohibit the wearer from military service. Now, before you get on my ass about how I am a republican, let’s look into this. For those who are unaware, the majority of military branches won’t give you a gun if you’re modified on the neck or face, and if you have something offensive modded on you, like a hate mod or something disparaging toward women, you won’t get in either. There’s a cat who is in charge of recruiting, Major Fred W. Bates, whose job in part requires him to look at photos of mods of potential warriors. He then decides if the modifications preclude the candidate for service. (It reminds me of the line from “A League Of Their Own” when Tom Hank’s character describes how his knee is fuct up but he can still pull a trigger to kill Nazis.)
A couple of things come to mind here. The first is that if you’re headed into a shop to get your face modded, you should have enough sense in your dense and modified skull to know that your career choices have just been drastically limited. No lawyering for you, kid. We all know that, don’t we? If we don’t, I’m not sure what intellectual planet you’re living on. (Probably Uranus! Ho! I’ll be here all night…) Our common sense should also arrive us to the idea that military service is limited as well. That just makes sense to me. The military is about making men into warriors, machines who accept and follow orders without question for the greater good of the people they are defending. Yeah, yeah; women too. You go in, do your job, and leave. It’s noble work, and if the rules say no mods, I’m not getting in any five star general’s face about it. Or is it four stars? Clearly I’m not the warrior type; they don’t make guns that attach to wheelchairs.
But then I’m inclined to think about the responsibility thing. This cat, Rep. Crimm, wants to make sure everyone knows about mod and military service. That’s fine, and probably a smart thing to do. However, by making a law that demands the display of these signs in tattoo shops, he is passing the responsibility of the proliferation of this knowledge to the shop owners under penalty. I’m not too keen on that idea. We have laws in this country that require the display of signs such as ‘wash your hands’ and ‘you can eat here because there’s no bugs,’ and ‘when the shit goes down, here’s the way out.’ These kinds of signs are in the interest of public health and safety. Sad that we have to tell employees of a food place that they can’t go back to the fryer with poop on their hands, but hey; we’re pretty stupid ‘round here. These signs are good signs because they are in the interest of everyone. They are neither “blocking up the scenery” nor “breakin’ m’ mind.” To make a sign such as ‘by the way if you had an interest in the military, you should know that maybe this is a bad idea’ strikes a bad chord with me. Maybe that’s the libertarian in me coming out, but the way I see it, I’m not sure that I’m OK with the government placing signs or advertising into a business that has the chance of limiting that business’s sales. It’s like putting a sign in a bakery that says, ‘you know, cake makes you fat so maybe you should get a fruit oriented confection instead’ and then requiring all bakeries to display the sign or pay a penalty. And the penalties for not complying is likely what is rubbing me wrongly. If the sign hanging were a voluntary participation, then I’m sure that I’d be less inclined to have a libertarian knee jerk about it; and I’m sure that many shops would comply. But the idea of ‘you have to do this thing that could potentially limit your sales or become a lawbreaker’ sits uncomfortably with me.
There are tons of people, probably some right now as we speak (read?) who are getting modified with shit that they’ve not thought through completely. That’s no one’s responsibility but their own. How many artists have done how many name cover ups or how many people are walking around with black panther tattoos covering something they ought to have thought further about? It’s the nature of our business, and unfortunately, there are a vast number of people who go under the tattoo machine who haven’t thought about one consequence of the mod they are paying for. It’s the way it is. The eighteen year old kid who may or may not have a future in military service is likely not thinking about his life at thirty years old when he is sitting in the chair and getting ‘Playa’ tattooed in script on his throat. But the law says he’s an adult, doesn’t it. It says that he can make his own decisions. It says that he and he alone is responsible for any consequence that may manifest from the choices he makes. Do we need to place a legal responsibility onto a tattoo artist to say to his paying client, ‘by the way, if you want to join the military then blah, blah, blah no neck tattoos.’ A tattoo artist is payed to do what he is being asked to do. Of course, a good one will talk to his client and make sure he knows what he is getting and makes sure that the client knows that getting a tattoo of Santa with his penis hanging out stabbing the Easter Bunny’s head off with Hitler’s mustache may not be the wisest of choices. But the artist will likely do it after that conversation because that’s what he’s payed to do. The artist isn’t a life planner for his clients, nor is he a moral compass for his clients’ behavior and choices. At least, that’s the way I see it. I’m not a mod artist. I’m a broke writer.
So if you want to fight in the war, don’t get your neck modded. Of course, when North Korea or Iran drops a bomb on us and the government re-institutes the draft, I’m sure they’ll take you, modification and all. I’m not going to tell you to think before you mod because there are very few of us (especially in the current political climate) who are planning for birthday sixty while we’re stretching our lobes or getting tattooed at age twenty-two. But if you want to go into the military, be smart with your mods. That’s all that this law is trying to accomplish, which is a fine goal. I don’t think that the law needs to be involved, however. An ad campaign would probably be more effective, but I’ll always err on the side of less laws that govern the public’s decisions. Especially when those decisions have a very little effect on society at large. And if this sounds like me bitching about inconsequential shit, I’ll quote my brilliant dad in his response to my mother’s agreeing with the anti-smoking laws: “Wait until it’s one of your rights they take away.” That’s a drab way to end this week’s blog. Here’s a positive thing: Kettle chips are delicious! Stay beautiful, kids.
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