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Another Unfortunate Tattoo Story

My article Adventures in Narcicissm dealt with my unfortunate proximity to a raging bully in daisy duke shorts.  Today we’re going to talk about something equally strange, but a little more endearing.

Every high school has the party animal that everybody loves.  I loved JR too, even though I didn’t party much.  The guy was a perfect combination of Belushi, Lebowski, and Spicoli. He was also into some really dark stuff.  Of all the weekend warriors I was friends with, JR was the only one who was really into drugs.  Heroin and crack.  He’d fight it for a while…then he’d disappear for two or three weeks.  When he stumbled back into town, it was usually by showing up at another party.  Cycles and circles.

He’d been gone for nearly three weeks when he appeared in the middle of a friend’s living room, about 30 pounds lighter and looking horrible.  But it was still good to see him.  Within seconds he had a beer in his hand and everyone was hugging him and asking him questions.

“You guys wanna see my new tattoo?”

We did.  So he pulled off his shirt, turned around, and…silence.

“What?” he said.

The tattoo, as he explained it, was the angel of death.  It’s wings spread out across his back. The crown of its head was between his shoulders.  It’s bony feet disappeared into his waistband.  And across his shoulders were the words, in a very frightening font…

Angle of Death

Oh boy.  Oh boy.  You’ve never heard such throat clearing and seen so many shuffling feet in your life.

“What?” said JR.

We finally told him about the gigantic, permanent skin typo he was sporting.  He couldn’t have been more excited about it.  He wasn’t mad at all.  He couldn’t even remember where he’d gotten the tattoo or how he’d paid for it.

It was hard not to love him.


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  • Blaine Moore June 23, 2009, 11:23 am

    Nice! Sounds like the great basis for a book…

    Just think of the possibilities for a subtitle with a book called Angle of Death:

    + Where 2 Roads Meet, No Cars May Pass…
    or
    + When Fish Grow Too Large…
    or
    + A Mystery at the New York City Ballet…

    • Josh Hanagarne June 23, 2009, 12:21 pm

      Ha! Brilliant, Blaine. Let’s be co-authors and go on Oprah.

  • Blaine Moore June 23, 2009, 12:31 pm

    Heh – we’ll start once you get your current book done.

  • David Cain June 23, 2009, 3:05 pm

    Wow. I’ve heard urban legends about this sort of thing, but never an real-life account. ‘Angle of Death’ is actually hilarious, I’m glad he saw the humor in it too. Sounds like a great guy.