Discussions of Book of Mormon issues and evidences, plus other topics related to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tattoo Haiku!

Tattoo Haiku, what’s that? Sounds like the name of a supermodel, or perhaps an anime heroine, or maybe even a sumo wrestler. Actually, it’s a contest, right here at Mormanity. As you all know, one of the top 6,458 problems facing young people today is tattoos and body piercing. OK, so maybe you think it’s not the most serious issue, but it’s one of the longest lasting and most visible ones. Some are very interesting and attractive, IMO, but usually much less so after 20 or 30 years. The Church encourages people to not pursue that route. There are good reasons for this. If nothing else, once regret settles in--perhaps Roxanne is no longer your true love, or maybe a giggling Chinese friend explains that your cool Asian tattoo doesn’t really mean “courage”--it’s not easy to fix. So let’s help raise awareness about the risks of adding a permanent fashion accessory that only fades with time.

Tattoo Haiku: yes, it’s a contest. Submit a haiku to raise awareness about tattoos, such as the challenges of getting a tattoo, or lots of tattoos. It can be about the pains of a tattoo gone bad, including the memory of love gone bad, spelling gone bad, whatever. Or it can be about our need to not be judgmental about tattoos, too, since a lot of great people get them. But we’re mostly focused here on helping young people prepare for the inevitable temptation to emblazon Lady Gaga across their lower lumbar region.

The winner will get some minor prize–either a silver half-dollar or a free copy of my internationally recognized book (I sent a copy to somebody in Canada, hence international–and he says he’d recognize it if he saw it again). If you choose the book, it will be personally signed, unless I really, really like the winning haiku, in which case the book will be unsigned: that makes it easier to resell at Amazon, according to my friend in Canada.

To get you started, here’s my own entry (though the rules of this contest excluded family members, clones of me, and me personally):

Fashion access’ry
With color always fading,
No updating: tattoo.

Contest ends at midnight on Oct. 31 (yes, Halloween, also known as "Bring Out Your Dead" day, just in time for the election).

Update: OK, to simplify life, I'm extending the deadline to midnight, Nov. 2, the same day as the election so that--speaking of deadlines--you can leave the voting queue and still have time to submit a haiku. Just like in the election, anyone can participate--you don't need to be a US citizen or even alive, and you can enter as often as you like. (At least that's the Milwaukee way, where they've had major elections with thousands more votes cast than there were registered voters.)


Jeff Lindsay said...

Whoa, already vicious critics are jumping on this. From "Dead Voter for Harry Reid": Are you saying you support discrimination against people simply because of their health condition? That is, just because a doctor says they are dead?

No, D.V. I don't think we should discriminate against the dead, as long as they pay taxes. Now, thanks to the resuscitated death tax, this will be easier than ever.

But this is off topic. Let's get on with the haiku!

Jeff Lindsay said...

Two more, sorry.

The dragon won't hide,
The tiger won't crouch. Asian
Tattoo won't come off.

Scrub, scratch, wipe, itch: ouch.
Nothing clears those hasty words:
How I loved my ex.

Mommie Dearest said...

Longtime reader delurking first-time commenter.

As their mom, I say:
I think your skin's good enough
Just the way I made it.

Review Boy said...

Large head and body
Spotted neck, long and slender
Giraffe? Nope. Garfield.

Wings on butterfly
warped beyond recognition.
Age plus gravity.

Reidster said...

Jeff, do you think dead voters will pull Harry Reid out of the grave on Nov. 2? Since many of the dead are now probably Mormons, thanks to Mormon baptism of the dead, don't you think they will be inclined to support one of their own?

Jeff Lindsay said...

Whoa, already I'm in 3rd place. This is going to be a fun contest but a difficult one to judge.

Anonymous said...

Judgemental Mormons

Making fun of non-members

We are zoramites

Gary said...

Thinking of tattoo?
Think again.
Watch this YouTube.

Singulus said...

eagle on my chest
once glorious and proud
now buzzard on gut

Serendipity said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Serendipity said...

Picture permanent,
a lifetime ago was cool
now hide but not gone.

Sorry, I realized that the last one had one too many syllables.

Jeff Lindsay said...

Two kanji adorn
My back. The book showed "Wisdom."
Ching Wei laughs: "Cockroach."

John Scherer said...

All now question him
Noone knows who is Skynard
And what do they rule?

Bruce said...

Poke. Poke Zzt. Zzt. Ow.
There, all done. [Time flies, things change.]
Scrape. Scrape. Bleed. Ow. Scar.

Mike S said...

Brother returned to God
Too soon. Forever remembered
In ink on my arm.

Mike S said...

Traditions fading away
But culture lives on in my heart
And my designs

Mike S said...

My grandpa and jazz
My dad and bell-bottom jeans
Me and my tattoo

Mike S said...

You don't like my tattoo
I don't like your white shirt and ties
Brothers in Christ

Paul said...

Mike S, nice contra views. Well played.

Body art in spring
Excites, awes, inspires, offends. Then, winter regrets.

Mike S said...

As your child, I say:
Thank you for my skin and life
And trusting me to choose

Mike S said...

John Scherer:

I especially like the fact that Skynard is misspelled. I can just picture that on some guy's arm. Whether intentional or not for the point of the poem, it's Classic. With a capital 'C'.

John Scherer said...


I guess I'll go with it being intentional. :)

Thanks Mike.

Mike S said...

Jeff L:

I didn't really like the poem in the OP - too explanatory. But I really liked the images of the 2 poems in the second comment (ie. dragon/tiger and loved-ex). They are pretty cool.

MarkS said...

Tatooers' lament
Seemed like a good idea
Too late to change, now

Grandpa Peck said...

Painful to get
Rejected by the Prophet
Temple grafitti

Billow said...

Once its on your bod
It is there until you die
I hope you like it

Grandpa Peck said...

Modifying the first post because its first line didn't have 5 syllables, tattooing it is not rejected and graffiti is misspelled. Other than that it was great!

Painful to put on
Discouraged by the Prophet
Temple graffiti

Judge Not said...

Here's another great reason to not get a tattoo.


Mike S said...

Just as an interesting aside, the comments on here reflect demographics fairly well. You obviously can't tell the ages of most people, but some give clues - "Mommie Dearest" and "Grandpa Peck".

Tattoos are not a doctrinal thing but a generational thing. Someone aged 25-35 is over 4 times more likely to have a tattoo than someone aged 50-64. But this has always been true. One hundred years ago, Church leaders and condemned the waltz as a "dangerous youth fad". Decades ago, Elvis was seen as a dangerous influence.

How many people who dance the waltz now, or listen to Elvis, also condemn tattoos?

Alpha Banners said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alpha Banners said...

Ill-conceived idea
With lasting consequences
Tattoo? Nevermore!

Remedial said...

So Tattoos are cool?
All lies. Now I'll win a prize
From Mormanity

Anonymous said...

I've been told:
1. You get put further down the organ transplant list if you've been tatooed (because of a higher likelihood of organ rejection).
2. You won't won't be allowed to donate blood if you've been tattooed on account of tainted blood.

Anyone know if any of this is true?

Anonymous said...

Seems to me if you can't make a case in rational discourse haiku isn't going to make all that much difference to a kid with a modicum of intelligence.

Rusty Southwick said...

Modern art extreme
Devotion and commitment
Skin instead of ring

Mike S said...

Follow-up to anonymous:

- If tattoo parlor is state-certified, no restrictions on blood donation
- If not certified, most states make you wait 6-12 months
- No bearing on organ transplant - in fact, some proposals are out there to actually tattoo that you are a willing organ donor

To #2 who stated "...kid with a modicum of intelligence", this is extremely condescending. As you can tell from my comments, I have nothing against tattoos but actually respect people who have them. The people I have met with tattoos nearly always have a story behind them and it isn't something they did without foresight.

That being said, I don't actually have a tattoo. And my "modicum of intelligence" includes a BS, an MD degree, a surgical residency, and a fellowship. Not that that matters, but the comment was very judgmental. I just hope you have never danced the waltz or listened to Elvis either.

Singulus said...

surgeon for tattoos
many letters and degrees
finds ways to show them

Singulus said...

revising my earlier bad attempt.

eagle on my chest
once was glorious and proud
now buzzard on gut

Anonymous said...

A tattoo will not
Prevent you to enter God’s
Celestial kingdom

My choice is simple
A tattoo costs too much cash
And lasts a long time

Anonymous said...

to Mike S

I'm sorry you missed my point entirely. It's possible because, to the best of my knowledge, I was the third distinct person to post anonymously.

I didn't state a conclusion at all about tattoos (I have one but didn't disclose it) and I don't hold kids in general in any lack of regard. I simply said that a thoughtful kid is not going to make a decision about getting or not getting tattooed on the basis of a haiku.

I am assuming that's the point of this exercise. My intent was to suggest that the more effective and respectful approach is a rational discussion of the pros and cons. That's how I approach anything with a bright kid.

I would expect a kid talked down to in the haiku approach to feel manipulated and reject the message without further consideration.

Ray said...

(a day late, forgive me)

Young men with tattoos
With time and sense turn into
Old men with long sleeves

Jeff Lindsay said...

And the winner is: Mommie Dearest. To claim your prize, email me at jeff at jefflindsay.com.

Jeff Lindsay said...

No, I don't think a Haiku will change anyone's views. It's not meant to talk down to some young person, but to give us a chance to consider the issue of tattoos in different ways while having a little fun. The exercise of putting thoughts into haiku or any other poetical form can be a healthy one.

To express one aspect of the value of using the constrains of haiku or other poetical form, here's new haiku for you:

Poetry: glacier
Of words, once fluffy, now dense.
Smooths rock, carves landscapes.

Jeff Lindsay said...

Update: I'm picking two winners - Paul and Mommie Dearest. Both can select prizes - let me know!

Jeff Lindsay said...

Slight update to M.D.'s haiku, FYI:

As their mom, I say:
I think your skin's good enough
The way I made it.

Mike S said...


I liked your idea for Tattoo Haiku, so in my post yesterday on tattoos, I used your idea for haiku. I did give you credit, though, with a link to this post. It was a cool idea.

If you're interested, here's a link:


tattoos designs said...

Tattoo Haiku is kind of new thing that i am hearing in world of tattoos designs .but it is creative thing .