The latest news in the House of Weebles is that I got a tattoo this past weekend. Many of you knew about this already because I haven’t been able to stop yattering about it.
For years I’ve wanted a tattoo but I couldn’t think of anything that was meaningful enough. Until the ideal subject occurred to me and it all fell into place.
So behold, my first ink, in honor of the one and only Pickles:
Doesn’t she look annoyed?? It was her default look—her resting bitch face. Those ribbons are there because even though Pickles didn’t like the things most cats typically like, she loved those ribbons that you curl with scissors. They were like kryptonite to her, she couldn’t resist.
I can’t tell you how much I freaking love this tattoo.
And it was a great experience except that after a while, it hurt like a motherfucker. It’s on my right shoulder, about 4-5 inches in diameter (that’s 10-12 cm for my metric friends), and took about 2 hours. I was mostly okay for the first hour but during the final half hour, if I had any secrets, I would have sung like a canary. I was kind of disappointed in myself; ordinarily I have a pretty high tolerance for pain so I thought I would fare better.
I’ve been trying to figure out how much getting this tattoo hurt in the context of other painful things I’ve known. I don’t have kids so I can’t use childbirth, the mother of all painful experiences, as a comparator, but I’ve known other flavors of pain. You may have seen this pain scale:
I posit that this scale is not sufficient. I propose this slight modification:
- Severe sciatica. During the worst sciatic pain I ever had, it felt like jagged little shards of glass scraping along my nerves. I’m not a fan of this particular sensation. I give it a 5. Maybe a 5.5.
- Having a head wound stapled shut. As if the pain of the stapling wasn’t enough, I could also hear the staples pushing into my scalp. An audio track does nothing to make this shit any better, trust me. This one is a 6.
- Slamming my thumb in a car door. This happened to me more than 35 years ago but I still vividly remember how it felt. It sucked. A lot. I give this a 6, plus another 6 for the excruciating nail drainage that followed.
- Stubbing my toe. I do this often because I usually walk around the house barefoot. The pain is relatively brief but always at least a 5. If there’s ever a competition for hopping on one foot while stringing expletives together, I’ll be a gold medal contender.
- Leg waxing (yeah, including bikini line). The only time this really hurts is when the weather is humid. In which case I have to white-knuckle my way through. Beauty is pain, people. It’s no joke. But maybe only a 4 at worst.
- Upper lip threading (which hurts WAY more than lip waxing, by the way). A friend of mine recommended this hair-removal method and she said it didn’t really hurt. She’s a fucking liar. I cried like a little bitch. I give this experience a 4.5 on the pain scale. And a 10 on the embarrassment scale.
- Various medical interventions. Some hurt more than others, but the worst of them was a 5 or 6. And if you ask me, patients should be offered general anesthesia for all procedures, even for things as minor as stitch removal, mammograms, injections, etc. Yeah, yeah, I know about the risks involved with anesthesia, but you know what? I don’t give a fuck.
So on my pain scale, the tattoo was a 5. But on the scale of happy I’m at about a 12, so it was totally worth it.