The other night my family indulged in a ritual that has become scarce in the past year — dinner at home with all four of us. Luke is back from college for the summer, so he, his not-so-little sister, Thea, my partner, Dee Dee, and I could dine and converse and enjoy each other’s company — even as that entailed a dose of affectionate foolishness from the young’uns.
Amid our mutating conversation around the table that night, the topic of tattoos came up. For years now, my beloved — and still un-inked — offspring have occasionally gibed me with references to getting tattoos. I began the parenting journey at the age of 40, and I increasingly realize how I am a product of my times. In said times, tattoos were a mark of wantonness and vice. Their bearers were hardcore bikers, gang members, gamblers and other social deviants (with some leeway for World War II veterans, whose body art was often surely a product of some shoreline devilment). But, in general, no respectable citizen would have gotten a tattoo, and, for better or worse, most employers would not have hired tattoo-bearing applicants.