No, I will not cut that off of your tongue.
I work in a tattoo studio a couple days a week. I like the vibe, I have talents that are required here, I enjoy the people, the music, the smell of anti-viral sprays and Nag Champa. Its not without its bullshit, of course. Tattoo artists are like children caught in some kind of delayed adolescence. But what do you expect from grownups that don’t have to be at work until 3pm, smoke weed on the job, get paid in cash, and make their own schedules? Its bound to happen. I’m not claiming immunity, I’m just painting the picture.
So today, a guy comes in and asks to see me. I walk into the waiting room to meet a sweaty gentleman with a pronounced speech impediment. He tells me that he has a growth under his tongue because someone told him to grind up aspirin and put it on his fresh tongue piercing. This growth, or the fact that he has two barbells in his tongue is the presumable reason for the impediment. I ask to see it, and he touches the tip of his tongue to the roof of his mouth exposing rather large and VERY pink thing at the base of his piercing. It’s the size of the tip of my little finger and pink. So very, very pink. Candy pink. I assume this is brand new because his tongue is swollen, but actually, he’s had this tag-a-long buddy for 8 FUCKING MONTHS.
He proceeds to lower his voice and tell me how much he wants it gone and that he has a high pain tolerance and that he wouldn’t mind if I cut it off. He’s made an appointment with his doctor for 5 weeks from now but he can’t wait and he needs my to take a knife to it. He’s getting closer and closer to me as he’s speaking, looking at me slyly like he’s letting me in on some kind of secret…like a nudge, nudge, wink, wink, kind of thing.
I am many things, don’t get me wrong, but a back-alley oral surgeon I am not. And why, if you’ve had this thing for 8 months, do you NEED it gone today? I felt like I might be at the receiving end of some kind of sting operation where if I’d agreed, the camera crew would come in while I was strapping him in the chair. Why would you ask a complete stranger to cut a thing out of your mouth? This seems like a really intimate act. I’d like to know my butcher for a few minutes before I let them penetrate me. I finally convinced him that I was not his Huckleberry for this particular assignment, and he trundled off.
Here’s a few cellphone pictures from my shoot with Rachel in Little Rock.