Monday, September 9, 2013

Can a Vending Machine Save You From a Life of Regret?

Recently, I saw the second most amazing thing I’d seen in a vending machine. The first most amazing was, of course, the Apple devices being machine vended at the Indianapolis International Airport. Now, we can agree that seeing an iPad® available from the same basic device that made Coke® a national leader in beverages is a fairly noteworthy development in the field of retail marketing; I’m learning that my number two choice is less universal in its acceptance.

Among the icons of body art are a few true standalones. Some are famous for their subject matter. The Marines’ EGA, The Naval Anchor, the divisional and regimental symbols of the U.S. Army, The “eagle” of the Air Force, the barb-wired heart, the “Mother” heart, and, of course, random inspirational words sometimes in a foreign script, spring readily to mind. Others are famous, not for what, but where they are, the ankle and wrist tattoo, the one which encircles the biceps, the face tattoo, and the softball pitch of every snide comment… the lower back tattoo.

The lower back tattoo or “tramp stamp” as it is often and derisively called, is relentlessly mocked across the gamut of media. And, much the same way I am heartbroken and happy when I see someone sporting crocs or a mullet, I was confused and overjoyed when I saw a vending machine dispensing temporary T. Stamps. And, when a bunch of scenes from How I Met Your Mother popped into my head, I had to tell my wife. Surely, she would also find it hilarious. The idea that not only does a person want to represent herself… or himself as a Stampee, but that she, or he will have to entice a co-conspirator to apply the label, will surely fill Jess’s heart with mirth. False.

When I told her about my brilliant discovery, her response, “Eh…I’m pretty sure you think this is way funnier than I do,” left me crestfallen and confused. Fortunately, that is a state with which I have much experience and thus, I recovered quickly, and decided that she was the fluke, and that our peers would find it funny. Chrissy, a friend of ours was joining us that evening for games, etc. and, I wasted very little time in asking her thoughts on the matter; sure I would be vindicated in my humor. Alas, I was shown to be even more ignorant of women, than I already knew myself to be.

Chrissy is finishing up her master’s degree, we share much of our humorous sense, and much more importantly, we make fun of the same things. But, not only did she eloquently defend the idea of temporary tramp stamp, she confessed to having gotten one herself, with a friend of hers. When she was done talking, getting a temporary tattoo for her lower back, seemed like a perfectly well reasoned decision.

She explained, people, especially, people who’ve live fairly restrained lives, are often combating a desire to, let it all hang out; to experience a different kind of power. Many times when that want boils over, people have a bad night, or two. If, at the end of that night, you have a tattoo? That’s a decision with which you’ll live for the rest of your life. Every time you bend over, wear a white shirt, or hook up with someone, you’ll reevaluate that decision. If, on the other hand (or back), you have a bit of delible ephemera after a crazy night, you get a few days of experience, and a lifetime of, “Do you remember when we…?”


So, It’s a chance to feel the power, and cut loose, without all the awkward ordeal of… having a tramp stamp forever. So, what do you think? Temporary Lower Back Tattoos: “Source of haughty humor?” or “Secret weapon in the feminist arsenal?”

Photo Credit: Endless Origami