Friday, March 20, 2009


I got home tonight and went for a little walk. The sun was shining in a stable door and lit up these hay bales.

This afternoon I was sitting eating my lunch when this whole group of slightly odd people sat down around me. It really was strange. They just walked up and sat down across from me and on either side of me without ever acknowledging my presence. They were all sporting piercings of one sort or another, mostly those big plugs that stretch your earlobes out. They were also all wearing name tags and most of them were wearing t shirts advertising piercings and "suspensions". Other than that, they seemed like a group of nerdy, serious church youth ministers in town for a seminar entitled "building tomorrows Christian leaders".

They started talking among themselves about branding. Could you tattoo on top of a branding? What was the most painful branding you could get? What sort of branding took the longest to heal? I got the impression that they wanted to be painfully branded in a spot that would be very slow to heal.

Now, I am all tattooed up and yes, I have had some strange experiences while undergoing painful tattoos, but that wasn't exactly the point of the thing. A couple of these people had visible tattoos of the tribal variety. I've never been very interested in tribal tattoos either. All of my tattoos are meant to be symbolic representations of something important to me. Getting a bunch of swirly marks, just so that I can be stuck with a needle always seemed kind of dumb.

Ain't I judgmental though? My weird shit is OK, but yours is bullshit. So, I'll admit I was curious. I wanted to ask them who they were and what was the deal with the name tags. Every time I tried to make eye contact with one of my table mates, they looked away- quickly. About then, a pleasant looking old man, dressed in black with multiple piercings, sat down next to me. All eyes turned to him. It was apparent that he was giving the seminar, what ever the seminar was.

He advised the youth ministers to start slow with brandings. Get something small and see how it works for you. Take good care of your brand and watch for infections. All very sensible advice, especially if you can see anything sensible about pressing white hot metal onto your bare skin.

Then I recognized the guy. I was sitting next to Fakir Musafar. The guy is like the pope of punching holes in yourself. He's the Jesus of body modification. The archbishop of nipple rings. He doesn't just jab sharp objects into himself, he does it "shamanically". In his very small world, Fakir is quite a celebrity, so I'll admit, I was curious. I turned and looked at him. He looked away- quickly. The guy was sitting four inches away from me and practically talking in my ear, but he refused to acknowledge me.

Overall those characters creeped me out. I don't mind the fact that they like to hurt themselves. That's just odd. But the overall tone of seriousness combined with the inability to interact (or refusal to interact) that was creepy. I have my own traumas to deal with, and I am not without some measure of sympathy. If you like whatever it is you like and you want to be out about it. I guess that's OK. However, if you're going to be in my face about it, do it with some humor and a little cordiality or else keep your bullshit to yourself.

I never did figure out how I became the center of their little circle, but I took my time and finished my lunch. When I was finished, I paused and thought about saying something. It might have been fun to snap my fingers in front of Fakir Musafar's face and say, "Hello, Hello, anybody home?" but I restrained myself.


Fakir Musafar at play

Wait - Two Cow Garage

7 comments:

mwhybark said...

funny story, Jon. I thought the averted-gaze thing was only in Seattle.

"Youth ministers!" Ha!

Jon said...

I'm serious, that's what they reminded me of. There is all kinds of kinky stuff in that neighborhood and some of it is overtly sexual, I mean in a way that a 'vanilla' type like myself can recognize, but these folks were austere and sincere while trying to be 'hip' in an unconvincing way. In short, youth minister types.

sfmike said...

I really do wish you'd snapped your fingers and said something, but this blog posting is just as good, actually. And the light hitting the bales of hay photo is awesome. You're obviously having some fun with your camera.

ib said...

Clearly, he and his acolytes assumed you were not of their tribe.

ib said...

Forget to mention that I like the photograph of the hay bales immensely too. Good investment.

Nazz Nomad said...

You sure they just weren't all Hot Topic employees?

Jon said...

hot topic employees have better tattoos

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