sure, there are a million reasons not to get a tattoo. but for me, there is one reason to get a tattoo, and that one reason is reason enough for me: you only live once. our bodies are only as precious as we make them, and they will turn to dust someday....so for the artist, it's hard to argue with the desire to embellish. hell, i'd cover myself if i could afford it. there is a rich history and global culture surrounding tattooing. tattoos are like bumper stickers for the rites of passages and the passages of time, little mementos proving that even though life is fleeting, just a drop in a bucket really, and you can't take it with you....you can take it with you, in memory, in a tattoo. i got my first tattoo when i was eighteen, right after my mother beat inflammatory breast cancer...against all odds. the experience left a permanent mark on me, and so a commemorative tattoo seemed fitting. i didn't stop there. looking back over my marks, i can remember all the major turning points in my life, each marked with a tattoo. it's a way to reconcile with one's own demons, a way to put down the past in indelible ink, a way to say this is who i am and what i'm made of...and then move on. so for me, it's not just decoration.