Monday, March 9, 2009

The Illustrated Man and the Surprising Facebook Friends

Those who know my blogs you'll know that if I mention someone in a positive light it means that I admire them very much.
Ray Bradbury was one of those people that I admired. To me he was a great author. I loved his work like I loved Robert Heinlein's and Douglas Adams'.

Stay with me here. This blog will take a very roundabout way to get to a specific point.
I'm just in that kind of mood. I like to give plenty of background.
It drives Charles crazy. :)
I discovered at an early age that I loved Science Fiction.
I think that I was the original Star Wars geek.
On the day that it opened in 1977 my friend and I were at the cinema at Fairview Mall in North York when it opened and sat through Star Wars for the entire day. We were alone for most of that.

In 1951 Mr. Bradbury published the classic "The Illustrated Man". This book consists of eighteen science fiction short stories exploring the nature of mankind.
The stories aren't connected with each other except for the recurring theme of the conflict of the cold mechanics of technology and the psychology of people.
The reason I refer to this book is that the unrelated stories are tied together by "the Illustrated Man", a man who the narrator meets with tattoos covering his body.
These tattoos tell the stories contained in the book.
The man's tattoos are supposedly created by a woman from the future and come to life to tell stories to the person looking at them.
The tattoos all have a meaning.

When my sister passed away I wanted to honour her in a way that would be with me to the end of my days.
I mentioned to mom that I wanted to get a tattoo for her. Mom didn't seem too enthusiastic about the idea so I didn't pursue it.
When mom passed away I started to think about the tattoos again.
This time my thoughts were to have a pair of angel wings on each arm with "Mom" in one and "Hayley" on the other.
I mentioned this to a couple of my friends just to see what they thought.
I did get a couple of questioning looks.
About a month ago I walked into White Lotus in Fredericton to have a serious talk.
I met a very nice young man named Joey who is a tattoo artist.
We sat down and I explained what I wanted to do and the reason behind it.
I knew that Joey understood how important this was to me.
We scheduled an appointment for the first stage of my tattoos. Joey told me that it would be too much work to do all in one sitting.
On March 4th I had the outlines done for both of them.
The outlines are very nice. Some people don't realize that there is more to be done to finish them since they look so nice already.
On March 18th I will return so Joey can fill them in with whites and grays.

The reason that I make reference to The Illustrated Man is not that I intend to cover my body with tattoos. (Although my mind is on possibly getting something related to Dr. Seuss. Joey has said he's up for it.)

My point is that like the Illustrated Man, my tattoos tell a story.
The one on my left arm tells the story that I loved my mom very much and that after knowing her for my whole life and having her taken away I miss her very very much.
My tattoo on the right arm tells the story that Hayley was the best little sister anyone could ever ask for.
She was so smart, kind and beautiful and I was always so proud to be her big brother. And I miss her very very much.

Anyone seeing the tattoos will see these stories. Just like the Illustrated Man.

I wanted my friends and family to know about them but was very cautious of how to approach it.
They may seem to be a little out of character for Councillor Scammell, or are they?
I decided that I would post two pictures on Facebook and only have a small number of my friends see them.
There was no real method of picking who. I just wanted a few.
I wondered what my friends would say.
Yes, I was nervous.

The result was amazing!
I was amazed at how many people I know also have tattoos.
Many of them have a special meaning attached, some don't.

Everyone who contacted me understood and felt that this is a wonderful to pay tribute to two beautiful people in my life.
Everybody that contacted me likes them very much.
Well, almost everyone. One friend hates them. But she hates all tattoos. Don't worry RM. I won't mention that you are female and live in Ontario and used to live in my old neighbourhood and went to school with me. I won't say any of those things. :)
She told me that if my mother could she would probably reach down and slap me on the head.
I replied that I would give anything to feel her do anything. Even a slap.
I told someone else the other day that Hayley and Mom may not like me getting tattoos but would always understand if I explained what is in my heart.

Another very close friend told me that the needle part made him uncomfortable but said "I wish you lots of love and luck with this endeavour Tim, as I know that this decision came from a place of love, your heart."

That's something only a true friend would say.

I have now opened up the pictures to all of my Facebook friends to see.
I will post pictures here when the tattoos are complete and have healed up a bit.
Until then you'll just have to go to my Facebook to see them.

What I realize is that no matter what you do or how unusual and out of character something may seem, if you believe something in your heart your friends will support you.
That's why they are friends.

Another friend and I were chatting recently and she said something to me that was so powerful and beautiful that I have to mention it here. She doesn't mind.
She lost her only sister to cancer in January.
"...people around me said part of me died with her. that isn't true, but the part that she occupied is now guarded, it didn't die just closed off and protected."

About my tattoos and showing them to the world she said " you are opening your heart just a little but your show of affection will allow you to open your heart much more..".

What an amazing and wonderful way to look at such a terrible thing!
Without her as a friend I may never have considered these things.
Her wisdom and beautifully positive outlook are helping me look at difficult circumstances in a different way.

This is one of the greatest reasons that people become your friends and stay there. We understand them and they usually understand us.
Never, ever underestimate the healing power of them.

Stay Well,


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