I just got back from Publix.

I love Publix. They have a fantastic deli department, their subs are always delicious, and they sell gallons of Splenda-sweetened tea for cheap. I would live in Publix, if it weren't for the fact that Publix doesn't have my sweet office setup and massage chair. If they did though, I'd be totally living there, like totally.


Checking out with my 4 gallons of tea and some gum, I entered into a dialogue with one of the long-time checkout people there about the content of the various gossip rags they carry at the registers, when suddenly, the old and sweet lady bagging my tea and gum began giggling with delight.

"Your arm!" she said. "It looks like a christmas tree!"

I smiled. "It kinda does, doesn't it?" I offered.

She just laughed and laughed. "That's great!" she said. "can I see the rest?"

I lifted my left sleeve and showed her the half-sleeve tattoo that has accumulated on my arm.

"Wow!" she said. "I bet that took a long time!"

"About 18 hours so far," I replied.

"Wow!" she said, laughing more. She was so sweet and so jovial. "So when do you take it off?"

"Uh," I said, smiling as I thought she was just joking. "Never, they're my permanent pajamas!"

"Never?" she said. "Not even to shower?"

I looked at the checkout clerk with a bit of confusion, as if to ask if the woman was just joking, or if she was senile. He kinda wrinkled his nose and turned to her and said, "it's a tattoo, Irma..."

"Tattoo?" she asked.

"Yes," he said. "It's permanent. It doesn't come off."

She looked at him with confusion. She then looked at me with an equal amount of the same. "Never?"

"Nope," I said with a smile.

She blinked. "Wow," she said, and just stared at it.

"Have... Uh... Have you never seen a tattoo before?" I asked.

"Don't think I have..." she said, with a bit of a frown.

I looked at the clerk again. "Is she serious?" I asked him.

"Probably," he replied. "This is her first ever job... She doesn't get out much, I think."

We finished the transaction, and as I was grabbing my bagged groceries, I bid them both a fond adieu.

"Can I ask you something?" Irma asked.

"Sure," I replied.

"Why would you DO that to yourself?" She asked this with a sneer, as if she was my mother (well, not MY mother, because when my mother sneers and asks such a question, it's usually with much more volume, adding an object of medium weight flying through the air).

I wanted to explain to her how expressive the artwork is and how beautiful it is and how much it means to me, both the allegory in the tattoo and the tattoo itself.

Then, I felt like i'd be wasting my time, so I wanted to say "Because I like it."

Then, I began to feel some disdain for her disapproval, so I wanted to be a smartass and say "It was a bet, and I won, muahahaha!"

Then, I got angry. I wanted to bark at her and yell "Hey old lady, why the fuck do you even care? Manage your own life, I'll manage mine."

I ended up just saying, "Hey, different strokes, right?"

She just tisked at me and went back to work.

I left without another word said.

I'm not sure I'd even be bothered to think about it if she simply disapproved... I think it was the fact that she didn't even know what the hell it was and still disapproved that got me so engaged. You do things in your life, knowing that you'll end up taking some shit for doing them but that the shit'll be worth it... You know, going in, that the shit you'll take won't even bother you. But sometimes, it comes at such an odd angle from such an unassuming source, you can't help but react.