Back in High School, Ethan had a friend who came to school one day with a new tattoo. Apparently, he’d gotten fall-off-the-floor drunk at a party the night before, and he’d woken up with “Free Bird” tattooed on his butt – “Free” on one cheek, “Bird” on the other.
We’ve decided that if our child ever comes home from a party drunk, bruised, covered in vomit, with “Free Bird” tattooed on his butt, we’re not going to yell at him for getting drunk. We won’t ground him for going to the wrong kind of party, or lecture him for his obviously poor social-decision-making skills. We’re going to nickname him “Freebutt”, and refuse to call him anything else until he’s gotten a job, saved up the money, and had that tattoo removed. At which point, we will assume he’s learned his lesson, his name will return to Jason, and we shall never speak of the Freebutt incident again.
Maybe I should feel like giving a moral explanation on why I don’t think my child should get a tattoo. Maybe I should try to figure out why my child is involved in this kind of thing. And I’m sure that will follow, as long as we’re careful to keep open communication and let our children know that we’re here to teach them – but still love them, even when they make mistakes. But I can’t help but think it would be more effective to point out that the way to gain esteem with your peers isn’t permanently adhering a trout with a beefy fist to your upper thigh.
So, remember, young Americans: just because your parents say no, doesn’t mean it’s a great way to join the counterculture. If you really want to go the rest of your life sharing your body with a zombie virgin Mary holding a box of Triscuits, you go for it. But your family may never let you live it down. ♦