Thursday, October 6, 2011

Tattoo Tragedy

CNN Anderson Cooper’s RidicuList recently tackled tattoos.
Apparently, some people are sporting misspelled slogans.
Examples abound. Cooper explained Hockey star Brad Marchand has” Starley” Cup “ChampiAns” in ink on his arm. A young woman wears “Sweet PEE” tatted across her lower back.
Um, “Sweat Pea,” the term of endearment/garden flower might have been what she was after. Unless she was having a “Say it out loud, I pee and I’m proud moment.”
A skinny young man has “EXREME” in lovely, elaborate gothic script on his chest. No “T.” Maybe he is a former “Reme?”
The tat needle does not have a spellchecker.
Now, please don’t jump on my head. I don’t mind if you tattoo whatever artwork, slogan, or Chinese character you’d like, anywhere on your body you’d like. You have that right; tattoo artists have a right to make a living. None of my business.
I will defend to death your right to tattoo. May the road rise up to meet you and may the wind be always at your back*, tickling the scales of the dragon tattoo you got in Cancun. Truly.
Further, just because I’m an English teacher doesn’t mean I’m on the Spelling Police squad. I misspell, too. Sometimes in letters 3 inches high on the (erasable) white board, in front of 25 students. Hey, it ain’t easy thinking, talking, writing, and wondering why that student in the front row is texting an order for a pizza on his cell phone. Yes, I just wrote ain’t. Spellcheck underlined it in red.
When that one sweet little student raises her hand to suggest I may have spelled in error, my pat response is “So glad you caught that! I was just checking to see if anyone was paying attention!” Administered with a smile, this tactic has gotten me out of several spelling mishaps.
But if a person goes through the pain, expense, pain, commitment,  and pain of getting a tattoo, wouldn’t it  be a good idea to take the time, pause a moment, and spell it correctly? Shouldn’t the tattoo artist care enough to check the spelling?
Because after all, in today’s competitive job market, an employer may not care about visible tats, but she may care deeply about the veracity of one’s claim to have “attention to detail.”
Especially when “I’M AWSOME” is blazoned across one’s forearm.
What do you think? Does spelling matter more in some situations than others? In the age of autocorrect and spell check, is spelling dead?

*From the Irish blessing:
May the road rise up to greet you, may the wind be always at your back, may the sun shine warm upon your face, may the rain fall soft upon your fields, and until we meet again may God hold you in the palm of his hand.
Tattoo Tradgey (sic)

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