Tattoos and taboos: The sequel
It appears that my last column on tattoos and body piercings got under some people’s skin. I hadn’t received this much input since the column I wrote about my colonoscopy back in “aught- five.”
In all, I received five phone calls, three e-mails and had conversations with four individuals.
I immediately requested a raise from my editor. He hasn’t gotten back to me on that yet.
I would have to say that some people took “umbrage” with my remarks, although that wasn’t one of the terms they used.
Of the phone calls I received, two were left anonymously. One “gentleman” included in his profanity laced message a suggestion that my head must have been in another part of my anatomy when I wrote the column. Having studied the structure and function of the human body I can say without hesitation, that his suggestion is physically impossible.
The second was from a member of the opposite “sex” who also questioned my sanity, with her own special brand of profanity.
A third caller was very polite and only wanted to get more of a perspective of what my thoughts were on the subject. She indicated that she did have tattoos and was very comfortable with having them. She seemed to me to be secure with her self-image and acknowledged my right to have an opinion on the topic.
In one of the e-mails the author was quite liberal with the ‘F’ word as well as other assorted sophomoric terms. In fact he used language that would make my old drill sergeant in Boot Camp turn white. Far be it from me, though, to begrudge a person who has a limited vocabulary. Their message just tends to be lost in the translation.
But at least they took the time to call or write me.
On the other hand I would like to thank the other e-mailers and phone callers for expressing themselves in a respectful manner, even though they disagreed with me.
One young man wrote “just because one doesn’t want to put artwork on their skin gives them no reason to judge someone who does. He went on to say, “I do not think any less of you for not having tattoos for it is a choice you have made.”
Another young lady wrote that she thought I was judging people from what was on the outside and not in the inside.
And some of these latter remarks caused me to re-read what I had written and consider it from their point of view.
Perhaps I should first explain my purpose for writing the “Healing Hands” column.
Eight years ago when I began establishing my practice as a Licensed Massage Therapist I read an excellent article in the Livingston County News on the positive effects of acupuncture.
I thought that I could write a good article on how massage therapy can also improve your health & wellness.
I walked into the LCN and asked to see the editor. He not only agreed to accept the idea, he offered me an opportunity to write a regular column on “wellness”.
Having just retired with 33 years in education I still had the urge to teach and so I jumped at the chance.
Originally I chose topics related to wellness, focusing on the anatomy and physiology of the human body.
Remember, anatomy is the study of the structure of the human body and physiology is the study of its functions.
Later I expanded the definition to include some humor intertwined with my articles. It was a tool that I had used effectively in my past profession.
I believe that humor is an important part of wellness. Researchers have proven that to be able to laugh a little and to feel good about ones self is an important part of healing.
However, I also learned that humor, at someone else’s expense is not humor. It is cruelty.
So I have tried to walk a fine between all of those factors in an attempt to write some interesting topics for my column.
When I re-read my article on Body Piercings and Tattoos from a different perspective, I can see where I offended some people.
I was attempting to call attention to the dangers of having such procedures done when there are no state or local health regulations to protect people.
I also attempted to put these practices in historical perspective, citing the traditions of ancient civilizations including tattoos and body piercing in their rituals.
And, finally I included some opinions of mine, based on personal observations.
And, I believe that therein lay the premise for some people taking offense. I think that their objections were based mostly on my opinions and personal observation. Although the article included a disclaimer regarding not wanting to stereotype anyone, I can see why someone might be upset with what I had written.
I wasn’t convincing enough about that.
Many of my opinions are based on my beliefs. One of them is that our bodies are sacred and that we should respect them. My wife can attest to the dissatisfaction I expressed when my daughters wanted their ears pierced.
I reluctantly gave in, but that’s another story.
The responses of some of these readers taught me that I shouldn’t expect others to accept what I believe and that I should respect their right to express themselves in their own manner, such as with tattoos and/or body piercings.
I do draw the line on obscenities, however.
So, suffice it to say, I got the message.
I hope that I have clarified my position with those who responded to my last column and as well as with other readers.
And in the words of Don Corleone, at the conclusion of the meeting of the heads of the Five Families, “I swear on the souls of my grandchildren that I will not be the one to break the peace we have made here today.”
But, all in all, I think I did accomplish something from writing that column. I did educate some people on the historical perspectives as well as the health issues related to these practices. I did make some people feel better about themselves by offering them a venue to express their opinions, civilly or otherwise.
It remains to be seen if I get that raise for increasing readership of this newspaper.
My next column will be on the collective lives of Jesus Christ, Mother Teresa and Mahatma Gandhi. I could use a break!
Lou Lombardo is a state-Licensed Massage Therapist, nationally certified and certified in orthopedic massage. He is an approved provider for continuing education courses through the National Certification Board of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. For questions, comments or more information you can contact him at (585) 734-2200 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.