28 January, 2013

Meow Kind Of Town, Chicago Is

presented by
Mystic Metals Body Jewelry

Meow Kind Of Town, Chicago Is

Since my cat Sadie died quite a long while ago, this has been the longest stretch of time I've gone without a cat. It sucks. I have two dogs (and a parakeet) whom I love very much, but I'm a cat person. I mean, I like cats; it's not like I'm half cat, half person as 'cat person' implies. There's something different about a cat from other pets. To be fair, I've never owned an octopus, wallaby, red panda, or Venus flytrap. They might be better pets, but cats are great. They're pissy and angry and demanding. [Here's the obligatory wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend joke.] I miss my cat.

I would like to write about someone in our beautiful community of body modification who is doing something that actually matters. I don't know him, but I read about him today, and I think you cats and kittens ought to know about him too. It's always nice to find people who are doing things that actually have an impact on the real world. Personally, I don't do shit that matters. At all. I'm a bass player and a writer. The world would turn just fine if I were abducted by aliens tomorrow. Most of the people I know don't do much that matters either. That's not to say they're not wonderful and beautiful people, but really; guitar player, bartender, photographer, actor. Yeah, these things are great and I respect them very much, but they don't matter. Jimmy is an electrician for a railway. That matters. Chris works to protect abused kids in the state. Jenny teaches. My mom works in education. My sister is a vet. My beautiful girlfriend is studying to be a cancer registrar. Those all matter. I'd like to do something that matters. Hold on a second; I got completely off track. I'll clean this up in the second draft.

So this guy I read about who matters. Bob Jones is his name, and he is the owner of Insight Studios, a tattoo and piercing shop in Chicago. A tattoo artist? How does that fit your description of things that matter, A. Robert? Settle down, voice in my head. We'll get there. Like myself, Bob Jones loves cats. His cat is even on his business card. Bob has taken his talents as an artist and business owner and applied them to that love of cats, and all animals, by working into his business plan a program to show his appreciation of all things beast.

On the third weekend of every month (that's twelve a year for those keeping score at home), Bob Jones and his artists at Insight Studios stop taking appointments and accept only walkins. These walkins... well, walk in (or in my case would roll in) and get animal themed tattoos, all of the money from which going to seven animal rescue programs in Chicago. Every month this cat does this. Yeah, that is definitely something that matters. If you hit up the website for the shop (http://insightstudiosonline.com/), you can read a list of charities that Bob Jones and his team have contributed to.

Why animals? Bob Jones just digs animals, and why not. Who doesn't like animals? Terrorists, commies, and probably Alf. But this is a big deal in terms of small business contribution. A tattoo shop is the epitome of small business. Its success is contingent on quality of work, fair pricing, and attractive environments and marketing. If the artists at the shop suck, the business dies. It's very simple. And tattoo shop owners are selling one product. Tattoos (yes, and piercings at most too). If that product is beat, it's not like they can stock a new thing and try again. It's a great business, and those who succeed are great beacons that the cream rises and the free market system works. Capitalism is awesome. The donations to causes by Bob Jones and his team are great as it is, but to look at it as a business sacrifice expands that greatness considerably.

Tattoo shops do pretty well on the weekends. We've all been there waiting in the lobby, getting nervous and looking at the crowd of other waiting people and thinking about if they're judging you or not. Saturday night at a tattoo shop is a pretty different beast from a Wednesday night. Bob Jones and his cats and kittens (literally and figuratively) surely could have done this on a Wednesday night just for the gesture or the inherent publicity with which it comes. But he didn't which translates to me that this cause matters to him, and this money he is giving is not a veiled publicity grab or soul boosting fake altruism.

This is a cause for celebration. This guy, Bob Jones, is a man in the modification community who is making a difference, showing a positive face of the modification culture, and best of the lot, helping destitute animals. Bob Jones and his artists are the example to not only those of us who cherish this beautiful and wonderful culture to which we've chosen to belong, but also to those naysayers outside of the culture who tend to say nay about the interests and beliefs of those of us in the culture. It helps to further sever the pirate/biker/freakshow/sailor/jailbird idea to which many outside of the culture still ignorantly cling.

As I tend to reiterate obsessively (which makes sense because it's the blog's thesis), there is beauty in all things. Some things tend to exemplify that beauty more so than other things, and Bob Jones' donating his time, his money and best of all his art to an unselfish cause is a clear example of beauty. There is beauty on several levels here. First, Bob Jones and his talented artists are helping those buying the modifications to help realize their own beauty through the wonderful art of modification. As we talk about every week here in this blog, modification is beautification, and beautification is self comfort. Bob Jones is helping people find comfort and beauty through modification. Secondly, he and his team are helping sheltered animals. We don't have to watch that Sarah McLachlan ASPCA commercial (which is sadder than "Schindler's List" and the beginning of "Up" combined and on HGH) to know what happens to abandoned pets. The helpless things need homes and food and care, and donating money to these causes allows the little furry folks to have a chance and an option other than 'the pink juice.' That's euthanasia, by the way. Lastly, Bob Jones is doing the right thing. Doing the right thing is hard sometimes. Trust me. I try to do the right thing 80-95% of the time. Well, maybe 74-91% of the time. That's probably more accurate. But doing the right thing usually involves a degree of sacrifice and selflessness, and for a lot of us, selflessness is hard. It does, however, come with its own rewards. It feels good to help. It feels good to affirm or compliment. It feels good to know that you have caused happiness. It's holding a door. It's giving the change to the person in front of you in line. It's letting someone cross the street. It's having a conversation with a stranger. It's telling someone he's beautiful. It's helping an animal to live. And what is more selfless than helping a furball creature who cannot rationalize that it has been helped, who can not possibly thank its savior any more than a chin rub on the eraser of a pencil he's trying to use, or a fur depositing leg sweep on his nice slacks just before he's ready to head out. That's some real altruism right there.

Thank you Bob Jones and all the staff at Insight Studios in Chicago. You are the example for the rest of us in the modification community with your goodness, your altruism, and your helping others to realize their own beauty. We should all be as lucky to be in a position to affect as many lives. Yes, the furry lives too. Here's to you, my friend. My sister the vet will be very happy to read this. She's foxy too; you should call her. Wait, I'm off track again. You definitely get my award this year for great people in mod. That's a good idea. I should really start doing that for real. Hey, kids; go tell Bob Jones how awesome we think he is. Drop him a line and say thank you. Stay beautiful, kids.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


  1. I live in Crete, IL (bout 30-45 min SE of Chicago) and have been wanting to get an animal themed tattoo for a while (based off my own pets).

    Now I know where I will go to get it. I will also feel an extra love for the tat because that the money I pay for it will go to help the furbabies of the Chicago area.

    Thank You for writing this!!!

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