It’s Okay If You Don’t Understand My Tattoo. Because I do.
Why in the hell do people get tattoos in the first place? The question isn’t as simple as it sounds. Many would argue that they do it to immortalize something that means something to them. That’s all well and good, you put your grandfather’s initials on your arm, your child’s birthday on your neck, a Japanese symbol on your scrotum that translates to “sand”, do whatever the hell you want as long as it means something to you. That’s the reasoning. But it’s a selfish one. Most of the people that see that tattoo are not going to have any personal connection to it, other than it looking “rad” or “tasty” or “bodacious”. Unless it says something like “Ice Cream Is Delicious” or “Nazis are dum”, nobody is going to care about the #2 pencil permanently inked onto your forearm. But the whole thing is still an accepted practice.
So why are people so perplexed that I got a tattoo of a man getting hit in the groin by a football? Isn’t self-meaning the most important thing? Maybe that guy is my high school baseball coach, who was like a father to me. Through all the trials and tribulations that I went through in my teenage years [drug addiction, batting less than .200 one season, a few jail stints, falling in with the wrong gang, death of a dog], Coach was always there to lead me down the right path. My senior year, we were doing some ground ball drills when a football came soaring from the adjacent practice field. As if the ball was being driven by God Himself or a small rat with a tiny scarf, the ball went directly into Coach’s groin. It was, in a term, the Funniest Thing That Ever Happened™. And he took it with great stride. We all had a laugh for a good half hour. The football team even came over and Coach treated all of us to chocolate malts. He died in a tractor accident 2 days later. But nobody will ever forget the day he got hit in the groin by a football. In fact, they’re putting up a statue of it in front of the school. He was buried with that football and if he were here today, he’d be mighty proud that I got a tattoo to commemorate that moment.
Now I bet you feel stupid for questioning my tattoo choice. Good, because all of that was a lie. The real reason is much stupider.
I spent a good portion of my childhood in a depressed haze. There was a lot of ups and downs, but the one sure thing that always kept me happy was watching The Simpsons. With it being syndicated 4 times a day, it got to a point where my sister and I compiled and logged the first 8 seasons on videotape, so I could always press the button whenever I needed it. Of all the episodes and gags that I would watch ad nauseam, one of my favorites had to be Episode 2F31, “A Star Is Burns”. In order to save failing popularity, Springfield opted to host a film festival to attract Hollywood tourism. The episode was so well-written that basically the entire thing is quotable, but the shining moment was Hans Moleman’s film festival entry:
This was the reason why VCRs were invented. I would rewind and watch this clip thousands of times. Whenever I felt at my lowest, I would just imagine Hans keeling over and everything would be as little bit better in life. I actually owe a lot to this little 10 seconds of animation. Probably my life, but let’s not get that morbid.
Fast-forward to 2013: I fell in love with baseball. And I’m not talking about just starting to follow the sport, I’m saying that it renewed my lease on life, it became my life, et cetera. It was an electric feeling, like when you get a new job or discover masturbation. My day-to-day drastically changed. Every night I would go home to the warm glow of the television and let Vin Scully serenade me on everything I ever needed to know about the sport, its players and some other stuff that wasn’t even relevant. I get a lot of flack for defaulting as a Dodgers fan, considering that I’m not from LA, don’t really care for LA and I’m an idiot. Being a Dodger fan is a lot like getting a tattoo. People will look disgusted and question it the same exact way. But what else was I supposed to do as a dude that worked second shift and didn’t know jack shit about baseball? I naturally had to watch West Coast games and watch as many as possible to ramp up my knowledge. There was no better human to guide me on my way than Vin Scully. He had the most listenable cadence on all of television and the things that came out of his mouth always sounded interesting even when they weren’t. I owe all of my baseball fandom to Vin and that’s why I became a Dodger fan.
That, and there was this rookie named Yasiel Puig.
Puig joined the Dodgers after defecting from Cuba in June 2013. He was an instant sensation, hitting 4 home runs in his first 5 games. It was a really special time to be a Dodger fan and it seemed appropriate as ever to bandwagon on. I got goosebumps every time I heard his walkup music, just waiting for something great to happen. I became obsessed instantly. At some point that summer, I made a bet that has since become convoluted. From what I remember, the bet was that if the Dodgers won the pennant, I would get a Puig tattoo, That didn’t make any sense though, because I wanted the Dodgers to win the pennant. So most people interpreted it that I would get the tattoo if they DIDN’T win the pennant. Of course they didn’t win it, because they’re the Dodgers and in every sport, I become instantly magnetized to failure. So for years after that, the few that gave a rats ass would remind me that I still didn’t have a Puig tattoo.
And then there’s the third thing.
Since the advent of Online Dating, I have been using it as a medium for trolling. Not in a typical sense, I wasn’t using it to make fun of women or shame them. I moreso just told them whatever the hell I felt like telling them. My theory was that if I keep throwing nonsense at the wall, eventually something will stick. Like if this girl can appreciate my weird drivel, then she’s probably worth my time. Some call it trolling, I call it filtration, whatever. Last year, I came across a girl that was tattooed to the gills [swoon] and was really into baseball [double swoon] and I knew I couldn’t screw this message up. At that point, I already knew that I wanted a tattoo commemorating the Moleman gag, but I needed to make it relatable to baseball for the sake of conversation. So I decided that maybe I could mash up the two. I’d get a tattoo of Yasiel Puig getting hit by a football! Actually, no, that’s kind of awkward, considering that he hasn’t panned out to be the future hall of famer that we thought he would be. So what if it’s Vin Scully getting hit? No, that’s too mean, he’s a national treasure. And that’s when Tommy Lasorda came to mind. He was the Dodgers long-time skipper and basically the face of the organization for decades. He also did stuff like this:
If there was anybody in the Dodger organization that would take a shot to the groin in stride, it’d be Tommy. In the time between matching with Rachel on Tinder and me actually messaging her, I spent probably 30 seconds figuring out what I was going to tell her and about 2 hours figuring out how I’m finally going to get the Puig Tattoo. It came out as this:
And I guess the rest was history or something resembling that. Within 6 months, she had the sketch commissioned by a Simpsons caricature artist and as soon as it was on paper, it was on my arm. And now I’ll spend the rest of my life explaining that, hopefully in less than 1500 words. In hindsight, I should’ve gotten a skeleton riding a motorcycle with flaming 8-balls for eyes with a quote underneath that says something like “Live To Ride”. Because life is a ride. Or a highway. Shut up, Troy.