I thought I was out of body parts that I felt like sharing with the world, but then I was totally inspired by the tattoo story over here, and I remembered that I have a tattoo story or two to share. In fact, in keeping with the spirit of taking photos from angles you don’t normally see, I remembered this tattoo that I rarely even remember I have. It’s on my right shoulder blade, where I can’t see it. As it turns out, it’s also really hard to take a picture of it, even with mirrors. It took several dozen tries to finally capture it on “film”, and now that I’m reminded how it looks, I remember why it is that people always say, “Is that a dog? What is it?”

This tattoo came from a book of “cowgirl wisdom” sitting on the counter at a retail store where I worked in high school. Think Chicken Soup for the Cowgirls Soul, although that wasn’t the title. Mostly it was quite cheesy, but on one page there was a quote, “Sometimes you just have to toss the skillet out, throw the bridle away, and let the panther scream.” And it was accompanied by this little line drawing of a panther. I liked the quote a lot, and I had been hanging out with this guy who’s real name was Wyman but he went by “Turk” (short for Turkey Butt, the result of one of the embarrassing childhood moments that your family will never let you live down, even though you’re 18 now and, like, totally an adult).

I was 17, and I liked the quote, and Turk had a tattoo gun that he had made his very own self from a radio motor and just how cool is that! So we traced the line drawing out of the book, and then traced it onto my skin. And then he tattooed it, just like that, on his living room couch, between the two pedastal ashtrays that flanked the arms of his couch so that you wouldn’t have to find and ashtray and carry it around with you, there being no other flat surfaces other than the floor in the whole 10 foot square living room. Good times.

I always meant to have the words added in later. Just “Let the Panther Scream” tattooed around it, but I never got around to it. And really, when I look at it objectively, I realize that it does have a little bit of bagginess to it. It’s sort of what Eeyore would have looked like if Eeyore was a panther. It’s not really a screaming panther sort of panther. It’s more of a sloping along looking for a good place to nap sort of a panther. Which is probably appropriate after all.

Check out more self-portraits at SPC