Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sneaking Up On Outrageous

What’s the most outrageous thing you’ve ever considered doing?

I realize this is all relative to your own lifestyle. For my neighbor—let’s call him Gene—it might be putting a forbidden article in his garbage before rolling it down to the curb. For Lady Gaga it’s . . . it’s . . . Hmmmmmm. How can you possibly top wearing raw meat lingerie?

In the late eighties, I considered getting my ear pierced and sporting a gold ring hanging from one lobe. Several things stopped me. First of all, I’m a pain wuss. The idea of somebody shoving something pointy through any part of my face turns me into a quivering puddle of cowardice. Secondly my round face, chin and a half, and Brezhnev eyebrows don’t add up to a sucessful pirate or brooding artist look. Instead I’d come across as a remorseful Elmer Fudd after a cheap wine drunk. Finally, I kept manufacturing nightmare scenarios where fishermen would hook my earring while casting for spring Chinook and I’d be yanked into an icy river or my wife, miffed at some real or imagined transgression, might decide I looked like a 230-pound pull toy.

The earring idea, as you can imagine became a non-starter.

Today, in the shower room at the community center gym where I work out, I observed a guy with an amazing art gallery of tattoos. And before you ask, no, I was not staring at a naked man in the shower. I just happened to notice him while reaching for my oatmeal-hyacinth body wash. Anyhow, he had a three-masted sailing ship, a screaming eagle, a peace sign, a Star of David, a grove (not one or two, folks, an entire grove) of Pacific Cypress Trees, and caricatures of the entire starting lineup of the 1995 Seattle Mariners Baseball team. (Okay, I made that last part up. But he could have had them. He’d left the shower room before I could drop my body wash again.)

Carolyn and I have talked about getting tattoos. She wants a small and tasteful dragonfly on her ankle. I’d almost decided on a buffalo (the animal I feel most cosmically similar to), but now I’m not so sure. After the guy in the shower it feels, well, unimaginative. Maybe I’ll save my nickels and dimes and have a gifted artist stencil the opening dance number from West Side Story on my left gluteal. Or how about the poker-playing dogs from that famous black velvet painting? Or . . .

On the other hand maybe I’m not ready to do something that over-the -top. Perhaps I should ease into it a little. Write some poetry that doesn’t rhyme or order the 20-ounce white chocolate mocha instead of the 16 or show up at the 10-items-or-less line at the supermarket with 12 items. (11 wouldn’t make a bold enough statement).

Maybe Gene had the right idea. Let’s ease into this outrageousness thing. Start small and work our way up. Where’s that empty tuna can? I think I can just make this weeks garbage pickup. Oughta really honk off our neighborhood evangelical recyclers. Then I’ll work up my nerve to load my supermarket basket and clog the express aisle.

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