Tattoos gone bad

My favorite girl has odd taste in TV shows. She’s a big fan of reality shows, and at first I mistakenly thought that the people on most of these shows are such idiots there’s no way that’s reality. Then I came to my senses.

Her latest reality show craving is for “Ink Masters” on Spike TV. It’s a competition among tattoo artists, and as you might expect, there’s plenty of tattoos, drama, and cussing. Why my 10-year-old is drawn to this is a mystery to me.

While home sick with a fever, sore throat, and congestion, my favorite girl was bundled up in my bed with Vicks Vapo-rub on her chest and a mug of hot tea on the nightstand. She happened upon a new tattoo show called “Tattoo Nightmares.” The premise is simple: people who have a bad tattoo come to the “Tattoo Nightmares” gurus who transform their unfortunate ink into something respectable, lovable, or maybe just bearable. The casting call for this show reads like this:

“Crazy ex-relationships, drunken dares and college nights, there are many instances where a decision made can haunt you for the rest of your life, especially if it is made permanent in ink. High school sweetheart not so sweet anymore? Sick of your husband, Steve, asking you who “John” was? Flash art lost its flare? Wish it were still the days when tribal tattoos were cool? Did you find out what that Japanese symbol on your shoulder actually means? Tramp stamp tattoo not fit the prude you? You lived the memory, you loved the ink and now it has lost its luster.Do you or someone you know have a great story as to why you want to cover up your ink? Doron Ofir Casting is looking for people who made a mistake in ink and want the chance to re-do their tattoo. Tattoo Nightmares – Waking up from 1 terrible tattoo at a time!”

I prefer my girl’s synopsis of the show: “These are some of the best tattoo artists in the country, so if your tattoo is ugly or really messed up, of course you’ll go to them.”

Of course.

Some of the bad ink that tattoo masters Big Gus, Tommy, and Jasmine have fixed include a giant pot leaf on a guy’s wrist that was (gasp!) impeding his job search and a guy who got his son’s initials scratched onto his chest while in prison, but there was a little mix-up — as there often is with prison tattoos — and the initials were transposed. I guess once the guy got out of the big house, his kid didn’t appreciate seeing his initials scrambled on dear old dad’s chest.

It’s estimated that 40 million Americans have at least one tat, so it’s not surprising that some of that ink would stink. The fix-it masters on “Tattoo Nightmares” claim they can transform an ink disaster-piece into a masterpiece. They needed to call on every ounce of their creative genius to help a girl named Erica out of her tattoo nightmare. She walked in with this:s-TATTOO-NIGHTMARE-DRUGS-121016-large640

and told a sad tale of woe about meeting a guy in a liquor store and admiring his tattoos. Apparently he offered to tattoo her, and she happily chose the Los Angeles skyline. Once her new BFF began etching the tattoo on her belly, she realized his pupils were huge and he was acting erratic. She concluded that he was on drugs and was freehanding the fine art she expected from him. She began to regret her decision to have a total stranger perform some ink art on her. I never saw that one coming.

Erica was rather emphatic about how much she hated her tattoo, which “looked like it was drawn by a child,” and she implored the “Tattoo Nightmare” experts to help her because, and I quote, “This tattoo really affects my self-esteem.” She went on to explain that she doesn’t like showing her stomach because of the terrible tattoo, and asked the experts if they have any idea how hard it is to find a cute one-piece swimsuit.

That is a problem.

I sure hope that poor Erica is lucky enough to dodge the bullet that hits nearly 300,000 women in the United States every year. If she feels bad about her body after a bad tattoo, can you imagine how she’d feel after undergoing a lumpectomy that left her breasts uneven and lumpy? Or a single mastectomy that resulted in that cursed asymmetry and the super challenge of finding bras and clothes that camouflage the difference? Or God forbid she undergoes a bilateral mastectomy, with or without reconstruction, and has to deal with the myriad fallout from that cluster-bomb.

I’m sure glad that girl got her tattoo fixed tattoo-nightmares-spike-tv-showso she can finally feel good about herself again. Thank heavens she doesn’t have to worry about that mess anymore. I bet she never did find a cute one-piece swimsuit.