Well, had there been any doubt at all, it is now officially dispelled: a significant majority of adult Americans have at least one tattoo that is plainly visible while they are wearing the bathing suit of their choice. (A day and a half spent in line at a water park tends to ram that point home to even the most casual observer.)
As it happens, I have no tattoos myself. Not because I am fundamentally opposed to them; more because I've never come across any word or image that I could imagine still wanting permanently engraved on my body fifty years from now, should I be fortunate enough to live so long. (Not to mention the whole gratuitous pain thing.)
I understand the names or pictures of loved ones. I understand symbols or words that have meaning to you. I understand baby handprints and intricately colored sleeves that are actually works of art no matter what you may think of the medium. What I do not understand is skulls; flaming, dagger-penetrated, or otherwise. I've seen so many in the past 24 hours of contemplation that I've almost come to think of them as a default tattoo for men...in the absence of something original or meaningful, "Hey, maybe I should get a skull tat like everybody else has." Which I would think would defeat the purpose of having a tattoo that marks your individuality, but what the hell do I know. Any thoughts??