“Hail to the jewel in the lotus,” or “beef with broccoli?” Your guess is as good as mine 12

I think we all reach a point in our lives – stereotypically near middle age — where we start to ask “big” questions. Why I am I here? What’s it all about? Is there any pie left?

In the face of these questions and the irreversible slog toward the void, different people act in different ways. Some are sanguine; some freak out. Some get religion; others get rid of religion. Some dump their careers and join the Peace Corps, while others dump their spouses and run off with the baby sitter. There are as many expressions of Middle-Age Crazy as there are middle-aged people.

Me? I got a tattoo.

Having recently turned 55, I had most definitely reached middle age (I’ve been crazy for a very long time, and was merely biding my time for the middle-aged part). If I wanted to go middle-age crazy, my list of possibilities was limited. One was buying a sports car. I eliminated that one because I can’t afford the insurance. How about a motorcycle? No – those scare the shit out of me (plus, I wanted crazy, not stupid). The stripper girlfriend was right out, as I am allergic to silicone. That left a tatt as my only viable outlet.

So, after more than a year of soul-searching – and a shaky OK from my wife – I got inked. It was something I had been thinking about for a long time – I’d just been unable to decide what sort of image I’d get. A naked lady was out – not my style, plus inking something pert ‘n’ perky on skin that is already on its way to Sag City is just asking for heartache. There was also the classic “Welcome to Jamaica – Have a Nice Day.” However, that one, placed where it traditionally belongs, would require type so small as to be invisible to anything short of an electron microscope

Just love that new-ink smell!

I finally decided on a Buddhist mantra, tastefully rendered in red and black in traditional Uchen script on my left deltoid. I had formally become a Buddhist abut a year ago, so a mantra wouldn’t make me a total poser. The one I chose – om mani padme hum – is only six syllables — small enough to fit on my delt and still be legible (if you read Tibetan, I mean). Most importantly, it’s by far the most ubiquitous of the mantras, so there was no danger of getting “sweet and sour pork” or “I love cock” etched indelibly into my flesh by accident.

So, about a week ago I went to Spellbound Studios and had Karen Slafter, Austin’s premiere ink-slinger, brand me forever. The procedure itself was a piece of cake, and apart from a few subsequent “what the fuck was I thinking?” moments, I haven’t looked back. The tatt looks great and I could not be happier with it (note to self: work a little harder on the non-attachment thing).

Oh, yeah — what does the mantra mean? The most accepted translation seems to be, “Hail to the jewel in the lotus.” But just to be safe, if I ever find myself in a Tibetan gay bar, I’m keeping my sleeves rolled down.


  1. Looks good! Although, I’m a litle disappointed that you chose a Buddhist mantra over a TxDOT team tat. Perhaps you figured you were already scarred for life emotionally?

  2. The tatt does look great, but not quite what I expected. I could have sworn that “Hail to the jewel in the lotus” was Tibetan for “Check out my new Prince Albert! (NSFW pictures after the jump.)” But at least I know what to get you for your 60th birthday.

  3. Hey tough guy – should I say “hey dude” –
    I sure wish you had contacted me before you did this – I could have given you somej great alternatives to this Bhuddist crapola – especially the “Hail Lotus” message. You could have paid me half the price you paid this so-called tattoo artist and I’d have been happy to take a shovel to your face and you’d have the same end result. You would last about ten seconds in an Oklahoma 8th grade PE locker room (our motto – no Okla-homos”).
    I was on the beach in Florida a couple of years ago and saw two that were remarkably remarkable. The first was placed very low on the back – or high on the butt – your choice – of a rather robust woman in her 40’s – I would guess she went about 5’9″ and 255 pounds, tight two-piece (it couldn’t be anything but tight). Her message to the world said “Welcome Aboard”. I don’t know that she has ever seen it but I sure did and I have been dreaming of her ever since. Even with the 350 mg Ambien.
    The second was really much less memorable – but it was a young psycho-killer probably in his mid-20’s. His tatt was across the top of his chest and was punctuated by crossed Kalishnikovs on each side saying “Death to all who oppose”. I’ve pretty much used that approach in my work life ever since and it’s a lot more effective approach to that Covey stuff you hear about when they send you to those dreaded training classes.
    But in the end (not used metaphorically here), I really like the friendly “Welcome Aboard”. I think it would do you well.
    Congrats on your ink job. I’d be there with you had I not this unconquerable fear of all things painful.

  4. Actually, contrary to what Karen told you, your tat DOES say “I love cock.” But don’t sweat it; gay Tibetan guys tend to be easygoing types who are tolerant of fratboyish American humor.

    Seriously, it looks great. I’m sure your relatives back in Oklahoma are already writing their “You’re dead to me, godless heathen!” letters,but that’s the cost of being the coolest 55-year-old in town.

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