Tell Me a Tattoo Story by Alison McGhee

Tell Me a Tattoo Story by Alison McGhee
July 1, 2020 Alexandra Adlawan

Young Children

The father tells his little son the story behind each of his tattoos, and together they go on a beautiful journey through family history.


I think the act of getting something permanently inked on your body is stupid, but the artwork itself is pretty amazing. I do admire the artists who draw the tattoos. I find it amazing that someone can draw sometimes beautiful works of art on skin. That takes skill. I still would never get a tattoo because 1) I’m terrified of needles and 2) I’d probably get bored of the image eventually.


Like the man in this book, some tattoos hold special meanings. I’ve read tons of heartfelt tattoo stories online that I’d like to share with you but some of them are a little depressing. I will share my favorite story though:


I only have this one tattoo. It’s an exact replica of my paternal grandfather’s Mauthausen Concentration Camp ID number from WWII. He lived to the happy and ripe old age of 96. The day after we buried him I went to the parlor with a Polaroid of it. I was telling the artist about its meaning to me as she inked it in. The whole process took about as long as it’s taking me to type this. Afterwards I got up to pay her and she pushed away my money saying:

She took a picture of it, I gave her my Polaroid of the original and the circle remained unbroken.


I found this TED-Ed YouTube video explaining why tattoos are permanent that I found really interesting and would like to share with you. WARNING: After watching this video, your desire to get a tattoo might disappear.


If you do decide to get a tattoo, I suggest finding a professional tattoo artist and being 120% sure you want that particular tattoo. And try to be creative like these people:


This weeks’ Weird but True Fact about Tattoos

Scientists made temporary tattoos that can be used to control smartphones.


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