Friday, September 27, 2013

The Tale of Ned and Honey (A Parable)

Once upon a time (okay, it was last Friday) a guy named Ned was clicking around on the Internet and he saw a picture of a tattoo: it was a snake (a cobra, to be precise) and the cobra was wearing a cap emblazoned with the logo of his favorite football team.

I deeply desire that tattoo, thought Ned. Alas, he thought, further -- my wife dislikes tattoos deeply.

"Honey," he said, flipping around his iPad. "Look at this. Isn't it cool?"

Honey (seriously, that was her name) dropped her reading glasses down low on her nose and glanced over from her chair. "Eeeewuh. Gross. And, besides, you know I dislike tattoos deeply."

Ned was vexed. He'd always loved tattoos. His cousin, Ted, had had a great one: an image of Curly, from the Three Stooges, smoking a marijuana cigarette. Ned had always coveted it.

He was further vexed because marriage had taken away his freedom. His freedom, do you hear? Who was she to tell him what to do?

He puffed up his chest, "I'm getting it done, tonight!"

Honey was still reading her magazine. "It's gross. I hate tattoos. Every time I look at you, I will want to scrub it off with a Brillo pad."

"Hey," said Ned, bubbling over with righteous rebellion -- no longer to be a victim of marital convention and female domination. "Too bad. It's my body. I'll do what I want!"

Honey responded with a short laugh. "I won't stop you...but it's gross. Every time I see it, I will be aware of the depth to which I dislike tattoos and, thereby, of how much less I enjoy gazing upon you."

Ned, our hero; our individualistic champion, strapped on his sneakers, covered his warrior's pate with a red Phillies cap and slipped his at-present unadorned arms into a faux leather Eagles jacket and mounted his noble steed: a Ford F-250, with spinning (and impossibly bright) hubcaps, and burned rubber off into the night.

He returned with his chest illustrated with an angry-looking cobra, which not only wore an Eagles cap, but carried a tiny football (...somehow, despite the obvious [and distinctly ophidian] lack of arms) with the name of his cousin, Ted, written on it. (Ned had wanted to add "meaning" to the image. What meaning, he wasn't sure -- Ted was perfectly well and was working as a short order cook somewhere in Idaho. [He'd had the Curly tattoo removed, owing to it having been the blunder of a drunken stupor, but Ned had never heard...])

All hail Ned! He is the victor, not to be controlled by some...some...wife, with her narrow thinking and her judgemental attitudes. Ned is his own man. He has proven this to himself; he has proven it to you, dear readers, and when he is prancing about at the Jersey shore, out under the blazing sun, he will prove it to the world! "Look ye upon me!" he will bellow over the crashings of the waves. "Look upon the serpentine wonder that is Ned, thus adorned, and despair...because you can't, too, be Ned!"

And every time Honey looks upon his nakedness, she will mutter under her breath: "Gross."

Yes, friends...chalk one up for old Ned, who does what he wants.


  1. I assume that this is a sequel to the hair style post of a few days ago.

    No doubt you will be thrashed by those far more committed than I can be, but before they jump in, let me me mention a difference I see. The tattoo, like the mullet or facial hair I mentioned in the earlier comment, is perceived as crossing a line of presentability. It is not comparable to a matter of wearing a tab collar rather than a button-down collar, but to one of appearing in public in clean rather than spattered clothing. The equivalent to Ned's tattoo for a woman would not be shorter or straighter hair, but rather a blaze-orange mohawk.

    Mencken defined the "vice Anglais" as one of taking marriage solemnly. It should be taken seriously, I think, but domestic comedy goes way back. To quote Feste, "But when I came, alas, to wive/By swaggering I could never thrive." I guess Ned should've listened.

  2. I'm just going to make two observations.

    First, tattoos are not equivalent to haircuts. Even a blaze orange Mohawk will eventually grow out. A better analogy would be growing a beard, or perhaps shaving one's beard and wearing a Fu Manchu moustache.

    Second, despite what they may suggest on the electric teevee box, there is not a tattoo artist working in America today who will ink you on the first visit. They'll listen politely to Ned's ridiculous idea, nod, and then say, "let me draw that up. See you in a week." If he still wants it in a week, well, OK. But he'll get that waiting period.

    (It is possible that someone at Belfry HQ both wears some ink and has in the past rocked a mohawk. It is possible that person also wore a Fu Manchu moustache even though the other person liked the goatee better. Somehow these people are still married.)

  3. George and 'nora -- thanks, as always, for the comments. Responding, however, would (I think you will agree) defeat the purpose of having written a parable....