Thursday, January 1, 2015
stop. making. sense. // a tattoo story
When I was a teenager I had a subscription to Alternative Press magazine. Back in the mid-to-late nineties, it covered music that was actually pretty good. They sent out sampler mix CDs every season during 1998. Man, that was so awesome. It was the only year they did it (while I was subscribing, anyway).
One day, I assume because of my subscription to AP, I received a simple postcard in the mail: black background and the word "STOP." in red typeface. Some time later (I think it was a week) I received a second postcard just like it with the word "MAKING."; "SENSE." followed another increment of time later.
I was fascinated. I taped the postcards together and put them on my bulletin board by the computer desk in the dining room. Those postcards moved with me, usually displayed by my desk, until weather took them away from me. I can't find images of them on the internet, but I swear I didn't make them up.
I sometimes have this ability to enjoy things for my own made up reasons without wondering why they were created. The back of the postcards must have explained that they were a promotional tool for a Talking Heads concert DVD being released (1999), but I don't remember wondering what the postcards were advertising. I didn't know it had anything to do with Talking Heads until many years later.
I like Talking Heads. They're my #34 artist according to my last.fm stats. I don't mind the few people that recognize my tattoo as a Talking Heads reference thinking that I got the tattoo because I'm a fan, but I didn't. I've never even seen the concert DVD!
The reasons I was enamored by the postcards and the reasons I got the words tattooed on my arm are entirely because of my personal conceptions of the words and the way they were delivered to my consciousness. I truly enjoyed the anticipation of waiting to "make sense" of what the postcards wanted to tell me. When the final postcard arrived and the idea that it wasn't supposed to make sense was revealed to me, I placed an ironic meaning into it. I kept those postcards as long as I could to remind me not to place meaning in life. No one I've ever talked about these postcards to remembers receiving them. It's the coolest piece of promotional advertisement I've ever seen, though obviously it didn't have the intended effect on me.
I got the tattoo because I no longer have the postcards. I got the meaningless tattoo to remind me of the ultimate meaning of life...that there is no meaning to life...except 42, of course. :)
So that's it. I like Talking Heads, but I like reminding myself not to take anything seriously more. I quite like being a meaningless speck in a gigantic and spectacular universe. There are a lot of us and some of us are pretty cool.