September 12, 2009
Have I lost it or what? No! I wanted to make a statement about myself and life as I see it. At 63, I got my first and most likely my last tattoo. Yes, it hurt a bunch to have done. I carefully selected a tattoo artist whom I trusted to put my thoughts to ink. Below is a picture of my creation and the tattoo artist’s redendition:
Here is my interpretation of my tattoo: the bicycle rider is me of course, the upper background is the rising sun which is a symbol for a new day/new life, the lower dark area is the earth from which we came; and the butterfly represents joy, happiness, rebirth and renewal of life for which many Christians as well as other ancient and current cultures seek. The word “Nika” comes from a battle in 532AD during the Byzantine Empire, when all looked lost for the Empire Victory finally prevailed. Thus “Nika” loosely translates to “Victory” against overwhelming odds. This tattoo easily reminds me and now those who see it of these two signifcant meanings:
1. It shows my passion for bicycle riding and how it helpd me cope with hardships of life, such as the loss of my father in-law and many good friends, especially as I grow older.
2. It signifies victory in my journey to achieve renewed happiness for life now and forever more.
What my friends think of my Body Art and my responses?
Pretty heavy stuff coming from a lowly educated old fat guy reaching his golden years, some thought I’d never make it this far myself included. May your dreams and aspirations live as a fire within you to reach for the stars and follow your heart to a life of joy and happiness within your soul. God Bless! The Old Guy
Responses from Relatives and Friends:
Ms. Vickie: That’s it NO MORE SEX for you! Then she storms out of the room. Old Guy, “Gee, I guess I’m not going to get my bi-annual toss in the sack”.
Pat D: What I want to know is where on your body is it? OG: It’s on my left calf so when anyone passes me while I’m riding my bike they can see it easily.
Greg A: You asked “what do you think” so here it is from a Christian friend – be very careful about tattoos and marking one’s body – even with “benign” symbols. Your body is your temple -Lev. 19:28 NIV OG: Thanks, Greg. Most all of the symbolism in my tattoo is from Christian beliefs. It’s also why I never considered a tattoo all these years. Last year on RAGBRAI Register’s Annual Great Ride Across Iowa) I did a paste on tattoo and liked it, then I received word about my father in-law taking a turn for the worse, he died a slow death over the course of the next year, at his memorial service I got much of the ideas for my tattoo such as the butterfly, Nika and life ever after.
Linda H: Your courage is far more than mine, but your imagery and inspiration is wonderful. OG: Wow, thanks that’s was nice you made my day.
Joyce W: I think it is very creative. “Great story behind it too!” Of course you are putting it on your blog right? OG: Thank you. Oh yea I will.
Jim S: Wow Frank…. my first thought was, “I’M ONLY 62!! “Seriously, great statement. We are at that point in our lives where we don’t have to answer to any other person (immediate family excluded). I’ve concluded that I only have so much more time so I don’t spend any of it on people who waste my time. All our friends have two qualities: 1. They make, or have made a difference in our community. 2. They do this because it’s important to them. To me the best epitaph is very simple, “He made a difference”. Hugs…Jim OG: Thanks Jim, your reply made me choke up. I appreciate your friendship.
Tami W: Love the tattoo, it fits you. OG: Thanks I appreciate hearing that.
Roy D: Love it Frank! Good for you…of course I never see/saw you as an old fat guy,,,”you” have been an inspiration to me in your zeal for life in your “golden” years! Thanks for sharing and being a friend and fellow cyclist! Roy <>< OG: Gosh, Roy those are some of the kindest words anyone has said to me. I’m so very fortunate to have such wonderful friends.
Dave L: Frank-the tattoo looks great but send another photo not so close up! Thanks OG: Thank you, I really thought long and hard before deciding to go forward with a tattoo on my body. I’ve attached another photo of it a little further back, why did you want another?
Dave L: I simply wanted to see the location; now I see it’s on you calf muscle. It must have cost a lot. & it will look great on those long rides. OG: I thought the calf would be the most exposed area for folks to see it when I’m riding. Might even score some points with Rednecks who think they have to run a bike rider off the road or down. The cost wasn’t as much as I thought it would be, actually the gal who did it liked my idea and said she cut me some slack on the price because of all the thought I put into it what I wanted the tattoo to symbolize.
Tracy C: “that’s very cool Frank. guess I can’t get a tattoo until I can have as good a story as that!” OG: It took me a long time to decide to get a tattoo and when I did I wanted it to have some real meaning to me. Thank you.
Terry T: “Very Good Frank, I also have a tattoo that would only make sense if explained. As long as it makes sense to you thats all that counts.” OG: It’s good to know I’m in good company. Thank you.
George V: COOL! OG: Thanks George.
Barbara Ann M: I can’t believe you actually did the real thing! Is this on your leg or arm? I like your thought process behind the design. NICE…. OG: Yep, I went and did it just like I told you at RAGBRAI. It’s on my left calf same as where we had put the paste ons. I’ve attached a better picture.
Debbie M: “I think this is awesome Frank! Can’t wait to see it in person!!!!” OG: Thanks, I put a lot of thought into it.
Darren B: I saw the picture of your tattoo! Pretty cool, watch out though they are addicting, even though they hurt like hell! Old Guy: Yep it did. I may never get another but maybe?