Tuesday, September 25, 2007


I came extremely close to getting a tattoo on Friday.

Two days later, I came extremely close to getting run over by a motorcycle.

More than just coincidence? Well, probably not, but I’ll connect the dots anyway.

On Friday I was drunk, blitzed, wasted, and polluted. Tattoos are often a by-product of this condition, or so I’m told. You wake up with a splitting headache and discover he image of Rutherford B. Hayes tattooed to your keester.

I was sober on Sunday, but I was preoccupied, concerned that I might have lost my latest Netflix movie.

The schmuck on the motorcycle may not have been sober, as he sailed through a red light, but I'm pretty sure he had tattoos. I don’t know if he belongs to Netflix.

I started my weekend by going to a Meetup event at the Crime Scene bar on the Bowery. For those who don’t know, the Bowery has changed a lot since the days of Slip Mahoney and Horace Debussy Jones.

It’s not the end of the line or the bottom of the barrel, where wayward drunks either cleaned up their act or shuffle off this mortal coil.

The Bowery is now yuppified and chi-chi—in other words, young, and everybody seems to be clutching a cell phone and sporting a tattoo.

The Bowery Mission is still there, but I wonder how long it will last in what is quickly becoming prime real estate. Let us pray.

All We Are Saying...

I had joined this particular Meetup group the same way I had joined all the others. I pressed a few buttons on my keyboard and I was in.

The trouble with this is that you can quickly become bombarded with e-mail invites to all sorts of events that you have neither the time, interest, nor energy to attend.

I keep thinking I have to trim my list of Meetups, but then I worry I’ll miss out on…something. Plus I’m not good at break-ups, even if it is with a Web site.

This latest event featured Eighties music, which I enjoy, and it was supposed to start right after to work.

I liked that, since if there’s any gap in time, my comfort zone alert system will find an excuse to go home, crash in front of the DVD player and watch the latest offering from Netflix.

So I walked in and did my usual social fly-over, where I look around and decide the place is too crowded, too noisy, too dark, and too young. I walked out, declaring that this was not for me.

But I realized within a few steps that I had absolutely no other plans for the evening and that I would most assuredly wind up in front of the TV.

I looked at the bar and heard my mother say “give it a chance,” her standard line when I didn’t want to go parties or other events she thought I might enjoy.

Then I saw a woman who seemed to be in my age bracket walk into the bar and figured, oh, what the hell?

I went in, pulled up a seat and started putting away glass after glass of New Castle beers. I rarely drink at all, and I drink beer even more rarely because it makes me feel so bloated.

But on this night, I was sucking up the suds like I owned stock in a brewery. The music blared out the likes of “Jump Around” and “Down Under” and I kept ordering New Castles.

I told myself to slow down, you’re too old for this kind of thing, and you’re going to regret it tomorrow. But did I listen? Hell, no.

I barely spoke to anyone and when I staggered back to the men’s room I saw the woman I had followed at the opposite end of the bar, deep in conversation with a goateed man.

Like the man says, if you’re slow, you blow. But I think I got hammered to avoid speaking with this or any other woman in the place. Self-sabotage is great for keeping you single.

I left the Crime Scene before I ended up as a chalk outline on the floor. I called various friends and relatives on my cell phone because this is something drunks do…before they get a tattoo on their asses.

My sister told me to go home before I got rolled, but I headed over to St. Mark’s Place, which was crammed with people hanging outside cafes, bars, and tattoo parlors.

I don’t know when my fascination with tattoos started. My mother always hated them and even though she's gone, I'm reluctant to go against her wishes.

When I was growing up, only ex-cons, sailors, and guys named Vinnie had tattoos.

I remember seeing this huge construction worker in a local deli years ago with a tattoo of Dopey from the Seven Dwarves tattooed into on his forearm.

I tried to imagine what motivated this action. Did the guy fly out of bed one morning and say, hey, I just gotta have Dopey’s likeness carved into my body right now?

Needle Me

It’s a little different today, where the tattoo is now standard equipment on most people. Mixed martial artists are covered in so much ink, I think their respective tattoo artists should get in the cage and fight as well.

Women are big on tattoos now, something that you didn’t see in my day. (Christ, I sound old. Better have another beer.)

I was talking with a woman in my gym class one time and she told that it was tough making the class because of her unusual schedule.

“Oh, really?” I asked. “What do you do?”

“I’m a dominatrix,” she said, the way some people say "I'm an accountant."

I tried to play it cool, but it was impossible. I asked her what she put down on her income tax form under “Occupation.”

"Freelancer," she said.

It was then that I noticed she had a pixie tattooed on her arm and, looking closer, I saw the thing was holding a cat o’nine tails. I haven't seen that woman in a while.

While I was volunteering at the Brooklyn Film Fesitval a few years ago, a young woman walked up to our table with the face of a woman tattooed to her neck. It looked like she was carrying a spare head in case the first one went flat.

If you've ever seen a horror movie called The Manster you'll understand why a second head would make me nervous.

I never did get that tattoo on Friday night. I walked into one place, looked at the samples of the walls, looked at their whole library of images that was set up on series of hanging frames, and nothing inspired me.

There were images of Christ and the Virgin Mary, Celtic symbols, clawing panthers, roaring lions and pugnacious leprechauns. But they all seemed cartoonish and rather cheesy. I don't need a Looney Tunes version of the Messiah on my chest.

Plus what do you do with a tattoo once you've gotten it? Just stare at the thing, assuming it's in a place you can see? The process seems painful and worse yet, I'd probably look like some old guy trying to show how cool he was.

I'm not young, my name isn’t Vinnie and I’m not an ex-con. It was time to go home.

I spent a good deal of Saturday recovering from the New Castle invasion, and got up Sunday with a clear head, except for the fact that one of my Netflix DVD’s was missing.

This was like a magic act. I left my house with two DVD’s and when I got to the mailbox I only had one. It bothered me so much I came to think of the company as “Domi-netflix.”

I walked home, retracing my steps as much as possible and I still couldn’t find the damn thing. I’d have to report it missing and I hope that won’t get me in trouble with the home office.

I went to the gym on Park Slope, had a dominatrix-free workout, and headed home. I was crossing the street at Fourth Avenue and Ninth Street when this loser on a bike came riding up to the corner.

The light was just turning red, so I stepped out into the crosswalk, assuming the guy would stop. Not exactly...

Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!” the leather-clad ass-clown shouted, as he zipped around me and turned right.

“Sorry, brother,” I said, convinced I was in the wrong.

Only I wasn’t. There’s a sign clearly stating that drivers must yield to pedestrians before making a turn.

So I didn’t get a tattoo, but I didn’t get run over by a motorcycle. But I did find the Netflix movie.

More than just coincidence? I’m not sure. Apparently I had mailed both DVD's but somehow convinced myself I had just dropped one in the mailbox.

This makes me a little nervous because it sounds like I'm losing my marbles. My aunt says I'm just stressed and I hope she's right.

But I'm glad I didn't lose the movie. I was worried some bikers were going to break into my house and tattoo “Netflix” into my forehead.

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