Food Ink: Why I now have a carrot tattoo on my body
People get tattoos for plenty of reasons: a love of art, wanting to look awesome, insecurity, hoping to pick up super-hot chicks -- but overall, it's because they want to say something about themselves that will remain permanent. Evidently, as owner Lance Talon from Boulder Ink now knows, I really like carrots -- and a specific phrase.
There are several reasons why this tattoo is now on my body, but I can definitely say this: The phrase "There's no accounting for taste" preceded my intention of getting some ink. It rests in the index of my mind and continually popped up for a few years as I tried to explain why someone left me -- why I did what I did, and my overwhelming feeling that logic may not reign over all.
I consider myself a rational person, so a super-realization that I can't account for my own emotions (or tastes), or those of others, was worthy of permanent interest. But that's the sappy side of why I got this thing.
The other reason I had the saying permanently etched on my person? It relates to food. At least, it should. When I was a sous chef, this was the phrase (plus a few extra four-letter words) I would mutter as I put a perfect medium-rare steak, grilled to the customer's requested temp, in the salamander for an up-temp.
It's kind of old-school in a sense, too. You can sous-vide something to a precise hundredth of a degree, and it's perfect -- but screw it, there's no accounting for taste. It's the total realization that maybe we don't have as much control over ourselves and others as we think.
Submitting to a tattoo relates to eating, as well. Real eaters "submit" when they sit down for a meal at a restaurant. You're at the mercy of the chef, the service and the atmosphere. You may judge, yes, but you give them your undue attention.
With clenched teeth, while grabbing the end of the table in some crazy pleasure/pain juxtaposition, I had to submit as the needles made my favorite saying a permanent part of me. It's like taking a mechanical pencil with unbreakable lead, then scratching it across my ribs. But it wasn't unbearable. I had an idea, I picked the font, and the tattoo artist, Lance, did the rest.
We talked about everything and nothing as he buzzed the machine to the beat of the song before stinging my body with the needle, until, finally, a sprawling orange root vegetable cascading down my right side, from my armpit to the top of my hip, took shape.
Maybe my intentions weren't as pure as I've said. Could it be that part of me wanted to connect with my own generation, which appears more inked than any other? Could it be that I really am that cliche, that I'm trying to be rebellious and individualistic, pointlessly breaking free from my upper-middle-class chains?
Truth is, I probably don't even know. But after a hearty Jewish guilting from my mother (who promised not to disown me as long as I promised that this would be my only one), I can say that I intrinsically enjoy the art on my skin.
I'm even a little tempted to show the work to everyone walking by, as if I'm a coed on Girls Gone Wild who doesn't exactly understand her anatomy. But that would be just me acting my own age.
And I'm counting on this being a vintage carrot.
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