And I was sitting there and getting a shoeshine in an arcade, which was near the bus station of course, and I looked in the back of the arcade, and there was the magic word on this little sort of booth back there, “Tattoo”.1 When the shoeshine was over with, I went back and I looked at the window and it had all these little tattoo designs and enlargements all over the walls of this place. They call it ‘flash’, the cards that they draw up. They put it on the wall, which are sale aids, so you know what tattoo is available.
So, the guy says “What in the hell do you want?” I went “Uh, bub.” And I wouldn’t answer, it was $3.50. And there was a heart there on the wall with “Mother” in it. And I pointed to that. Well, I was way underage, but the guy didn’t pay attention to that I guess. “And where in the world is that?” I told him the inside right forearm. So, I pointed there, and stepped in the chair, and I had that tattoo on so fast, bingo. And then I couldn’t believe it, it was like — now I got something on my arm that I had adoration for, with these guys that were coming home from the service. I had went off on a great adventure, and to me, to San Francisco.
And so it was — they’re commemorative. So, I look at everyone of my tattoos, which have been tattooed, but well, I’m tattooed solid from the ankles to the neck to my wrist, yeah, all over my body. And so I wound up on the way home that night on a bus, it was — it was out in the country, there was no — the ambient light, I couldn’t see the tattoo. I could reach down, and it was tender, I could feel it. But then we pulled into a little town or something and there would be street lights and I would be holding my arm up looking at that tattoo. I mean that was a changing point in my life.2