News item: The U.S. Navy recently officially permitted sailors to have larger tattoos on their bodies, as well as smaller ones on necks and behind ears. The Navy’s new rules “prohibit tattoos that are obscene, symbolize membership in gangs, supremacist or extremist groups or advocate illegal drug use”. Well, gee, at least the Navy wants socially-approved tattoos.
Obviously, the Navy is giving in to the wildly-popular tattoo culture that currently encourages young teens to decorate/desecrate their skin. Of course, there’s nothing new about tattooing. Humanoids have been screwing up their tender epidermi with grafitti since pre-history.
Scientists, digging into ancient tombs and campsites, still find evidence of tattoos. As with today’s Navy and teens, the pre-history guys did it to look more fierce in combat, from tossing spears to the battle of the sexes .
My memories on tattoos go back to 1944. Fresh out of Navy boot camp at age 18, I was waiting for ship assignment at the Navy base on Treasure Island, located between San Francisco and Oakland. Along with other new sailors, there were also veterans in the island’s barracks.
We teens looked up to the older sailors, especially those with tattoos. They awed us with tales of war in the Pacific, where they earned their battle stars, and how the tattoos attracted girls. They also declared San Francisco to be the best Navy liberty town in the world, where the right amount of money and tattoos could buy anything.
For a price, we teens were offered fake ID cards, because bars were not allowed to serve liquor to anyone under age 21. The veterans also recommended several tattoo parlors, where our decorated arms could soon help us look like old salts.
A group of us headed for the city, and after heavy illegal drinking, some of the guys decided it was time to get tattooos. Fortunately, I didn’t drink enough to go along with them. I still don’t regret the decision.
Today, when I see tattooed old guys with sagging skin, their illustrated bodies resemble grafitti on the walls of public toilets. Additionally, I know it’s sexist to say it, but I cringe when I see young women who’ve destroyed their natural beauty with large, ugly tattoos. Too soon the pictures will be even uglier on the inevitable sagging skin.