Daily Archives: August 21, 2008

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Eye on the Prize

August 21, 2008 by in category Archives tagged as

Every family has “rules.” I’m writing, of course, about the family rules that start out as a casual remark made by someone which grows to achieve inside joke popularity. In my family, the rule has to do with tattoos.

I remember being young, maybe 8 or 9 and telling my mom I was going to get a tattoo. At the time we were watching the Olympics and one of the athletes had the rings tattood on his body, not unlike many of today’s athletes. I said it more for the shock factor then anything. Imagine my surprise when my anti-tattoo mom immediately responded with “If you qualify for the Olympics I’ll pay for your tattoo.”

Well heck, I remember thinking that’s a pretty good deal! Oh, wait… Even at 9 I was too busy with school and sports and other kid stuff to even consider an Olympic attempt. But the rule remains.

Tattoos for me at that moment became more then just something that was pretty. They were a symbol. Achieve excellence in a field and mom had no problem with you proclaiming your achievement via body art for the rest of your life. SWEET! (Yes, I’m a little bit competitive).

The challenge remained in the back of my mind when I entered high school. I remember writing (let’s be honest, horrible) angsty poetry and reading about Toni Morrison. “If I win a Nobel Prize will you pay for the tat?” I remember asking my mom. You have to love mom, she nodded immediately even as she asked. “Honey, do you know what the Nobel Prize looks like?” I didn’t.

It didn’t have the same zing as the Olympic rings, did it?

After high school, college, and grad school I decided I’d read enough sad stuff to last me awhile and I turned to writing fiction. Specifically romance fiction. And who is the queen of romance fiction? The Nora. And everyone knows Nora tends to camp out at the top of the New York Times Bestseller list.

Only this time, I didn’t even ask if my mom would pay for the NYT tattoo. I really don’t think I could stomach having the New York Times logo forever emblazoned on my body. Maybe I’ll feel differently about that when the time comes.

But in the meantime. I want to know why Olympic medals seem to symbolize the prettiest of tattoos. As writers, I think maybe we need to hire a graphic designer. Just saying…

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