Last night the Miami Heat deleted the Indiana Pacers from the NBA playoffs, 99-76. But I barely noticed the game as I watched the Heat’s Chris “Birdman” Andersen.
He’s the one with the Mohawk and the full body tattoos (the “turtleneck of stupid” according to my friend Lee). I’ve been birdwatching in Belize and haven’t seen a bird so colorful. (Although to be fair, he did model his body art in PETA’s “Ink Not Mink” campaign.)
So what gives? Why permanently paint your skin with skulls and “303,” coincidentally the area code of Denver–where he no longer plays?
On one hand, tattoos have been around for centuries, and they used to mean something. Usually something you didn’t want any part of—wars or prison terms. But now, every other teen girl on the subway has dolphin on her deltoid.
As comedian Dan Soder puts it, “If a guy under 25 has tattoos, I’m not afraid of him. No one cares about your koi fish, Caleb. If a guy is over 70, I’m terrified. That man has seen death.”
I should point out here, I have a tattoo. I got mine before it became a fad, to commemorate a dangerous scuba dive in Central America.
OK, actually the only dangerous part was getting a tattoo in Central America. Still, it meant something, and it’s in a place where no one sees it unless I want them to.
Why do we get them, and why do athletes love them so much? Muhammad Ali, Jack Nicklaus, Billie Jean King—no tattoos. But this fad does not seem to be slowing. Do tattoos help? Make athletes tougher?
What do you think? Let me know…
And a quick note, R.I.P. David “Deacon” Jones, who passed away of natural causes at age 74 Monday night. The leader of the Rams’ “Fearsome Foursome” defensive line in the 1960s, the Hall-of-Famer literally rewrote the book of pro football. He even coined the term, “sacking the quarterback.”