“Vicky, what’s with the new tattoo ?” Camp asked our waitress at ‘Gramma’s Pub’ when she set a cool pint of Golden Pale Ale in front of him. The tattoo depicted a mermaid holding a glass of what looked like champagne.
“Don’t you love it ! It’s my birthday present to myself.”
“It is kind of cute but what does it mean?”
“When I was a little girl I always wanted to be a mermaid and now I am one, meaning I can be whatever I want to be. Enjoy your beers fellows.”
“That’s what you get for asking, I said to Camp.
“Tattoos used to be the provenance of sailors and bikers. An anchor, a skull and crossbones, maybe a tall-ship or a snake around the bicep, or ritual tattoos like the Polynesian swirls, but today everybody has to have them. There isn’t a professional soccer player that hasn’t got the full sleeve at least on one arm, most of them have both arms, the neck and god knows what else covered in ink. When the flames come out of the shirt collar that’s it for me.”
“I know,“ I said, “and not every tattoo artist is a good one. What puzzles me is that so many girls are into this body painting. Do they realize that tattoos are forever ? Can you see all these grannies in fifty years with their tattoos of fairy princesses, Celtic knots and mermaids?”
“Not a pretty sight I have to admit.”
“What about all the tattoos gone wrong, the spelling mistakes.”
“I guess there is a market loophole there. If somebody can figure out how to disappear tattoos, they’ll have it made,” Camp said, taking a sip of his beer.
“I think there are over the counter skin bleaching concoctions,” I said “and I know a former actress who opened a tattoo removal business. I think it’s called ‘Inkoff’.
“Tattoo removal creams are like hair growing ointments. It’s all snake oil. I have a tattoo,” Camp said, “from when I was a teenager. It’s home made and we did it ourselves, with ink and needles. Sort of like a hazing ritual. We were young and stupid.”
“No kidding, let’s see it,” I said.
Camp reluctantly rolled up his sleeve and displayed a round, faded blob that looked more like a birthmark than a tattoo.”
“It’s supposed to be a ‘ying and yang’ sign,” Camp said defensively.
“Maybe you can have it made into a smiley face, like an emoji,” I offered, or how about a full moon.”
“You’re a lot of help you know,” Camp said, rolling down his sleeve. “By the way where is that ‘Inkoff’ business of your friend?”
“I’ll get you the details,” I promised. “By the way have you heard of those two business grads who took on the multi-billion dollar shaving industry with their own razor. I’s called Harry and quite the success story,” I said
“I also used to invent stuff,” Camp said, but nothing quite as successful. “I invented a floating platform with wheel wells and an outboard motor that you could drive any size RV onto and voilà, there is your houseboat.”
“Oh, that’s a cool idea. What happened?
“Nobody had any money to invest and then there were suddenly a plethora of marine regulations I didn’t think of. I guess that’s why the amphibian car died.”
“What else did you invent Camp.”
“Oh, a tie with a permanent knot but I think somebody else invented the same thing. Lately I’m thinking of those in-house lap-pools with the adjustable pumps so you can swim in place. I’m thinking of building on that and introduce kayaks, and water boards to it with a half surround screen so you could paddle down the Amazon or among Caribbean palm islands. All before lunch of course and in your own home.”
“That’s a crazy idea,” I said, shaking my head. “Who would buy into that?”
“That’s what they said about snowboards or the self drive car for that matter. Anyway I’ll better stick to books. Somebody else writes them, somebody else binds them and I just sell them.”
I offered a toast: “Here is to the simple things in life, tattoo removal and the Amazon in your home gym.”
“Are you guys ready for another one,” Vicky asked.
“Yes, please,” we both answered in stereo.