that morning started out by doing a quick google search for tattoo reviews in denver. i found a page that had some tattoo shops listed and some stars next to their names. one actually looked legit, and called to get their hours. within a couple of hours i was walking through their front doors …alone. i hadn’t told anyone what i was about to have done, so the whole mission was quite covert. it was kind of a simple shop with a few guys working there, and most of them had lots of body art, and piercings. they asked if i could be helped, and i replied, “yes, i’d like to get a tattoo”.
i asked if i could look at some of their portfolios that were stacked high on the counter. their work was amazing. there were dragons, swords, snakes, koi fish, naked women [hmm], skulls, and hot rods. with each tattoo i looked at i tried to imagine it on me, and me at work… then me as an old man with the same tattoo. i didn’t find anything that really fit me.
one guy asked if knew what i wanted. “yeah, i want a bike!”, i said with the tone that someone would use when talking to santa. the guy kind of chuckled and ask if i meant a bike with pedals.
i assured him that i was indeed talking about a bicycle, a two wheeled pedal powered, chain driven, handle bar holding, seat sitting, master piece of invention. he looked confused for a moment and went in the back and brought out doug. i guess doug was the bike expert, or at least he rode a bike, or maybe he was just good with vague request or something. doug asked if i had a picture or drawing that we could go with. i didn’t really bring a picture, because my printer was not working when i left the house. we ended up surfed their internet and quickly found the image i kind of wanted. it was basically the “yield for bikes” road sign only doug added custom drop bars for me.
after a few iterations of size and orientation, we finally had the perfect tat. doug had to draw things up perfectly so he could make a decal that would serve as the blue print for the ink gun. while this was going on i sat in the back waiting room. this place was pretty nice, it reminded me of a really nice hair salon, only with reclining chair tables and no perm smell.
up to this point i was not nervous at all. i was anxious to get started so i could get home and surprise everyone. he finally came back and had me sit across the table and went over some simple house rules before we started. he explained how the needles are brand new, and that they never ever reuse them. he also told me about other procedures they use insure safety. he also told me how to “tap out” if the pain gets too unbearable…. ha! like that is going to happen, i told myself.
he shaved a bit of my arm where the tattoo was going to be, and proceeded to apply the decal. my arm was stretched across the table and i could see the white tender part of my inner forearm stretched smooth with a bike decal stuck to it. he fired up the needle machine and went for the first poke. it wasn’t extremely painful, but something about watching it being done, along with hearing the sound of the needle gun, some blood mixed with ink coming out…. really felt awful. i tried to hold a normal conversation at first, but soon i was unable to focus on what i was saying , then i was unable to focus on what he was saying. i had to close my eyes, and turn my head away from the pain, as if that was any better. i would occasionally get up enough courage to look and see how much more he had to do. i was frequently disappointed at how much more still had to be done. my god! this was taking forever.
after about 45 minutes he was finally done. my pain quickly subsided when i saw how beautiful it looked. i really liked it, i got up and stood in the mirror, checking it from different angles…. wow. doug wrapped it in plastic, gave me detailed instructions on how to take care of it… and out the door i went.
it’s been over a week now and that scabbing has passed. my arm still hurts, but at this point maybe its from something else.