“Finish it dad,” said my seven-year old son pointing the jailhouse tattoo on my foot.

Of course, I didn’t get it in jail, rather as a freshman in college. I was living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland attending Salisbury University (then known as Salisbury State College) and had discovered a fellow skate punk in the dining hall in the first few weeks of the fall semester. We instantly bonded over Descendents and SNFU records, lots of beer and tequila.

A tall, skinny kid from Texas, he had several homemade tattoos adorning his body. One day I asked him about these crude drawings on his skin and he told me he did them himself.

“All you need is a needle and some Indian ink,” he explained.

It just seemed so simple.

Well, because, it is.

So one night after one too many, sitting Indian style (the irony!) in his dorm room doing what we did best as college kids – drinking and listening to music – he broke out the tools of his trade. He took a simple sewing needle and wrapped the top end, which has the eye of the needle on it, with thread several times over until the needle became top heavy.

“This will hold the ink,” he said. He explained that you would dip the threaded side into the bottle. It would soak up the ink. You would then let it slowly drip down the needle to the tip.

“It’s like stippling,” he explained. “Just a series of dots over and over again.”

He convinced me I needed one. Being somewhat of a pussy at the time, I offered up my foot as my canvas. I drew a crude skull and with crossbones. Not being much of an artist, it didn’t quite look like the Pushead drawing I wanted it to be, but I slugged the tequila and began.

As time went on, we grew bored and tired with our decision to give ourselves homemade tattoos. But mine wasn’t finished. I had only managed to get the eyes and nose done. And my foot was starting to get sore.

“You should have kept it simple,” he said. “It’s too complex for one sitting. You can finish it tomorrow.”

As you can see, tomorrow came and went.

Weeks came and went.

Months came and went.

Years came and went.

DECADES came and went.

And I never finished it. I often mulled over the idea of getting a “cover-up,” but I could never quite agree with what I wanted – like little wings on each foot like Hermes often being my first choice but not strong enough to make me do it. Other friends would argue that I not cover it up, that I should leave it the way it was because, a tattoo after all, is suppose to represent a place in time. And this most definitely represents a place in time for me.

So now I leave it up to you, dear DadCentric readers: Do I cover it up, finish it or leave it as is?

Vote in the comments section and then look for a follow-up post with the results.

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