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"Sorry Mom Tattoo"

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The young man with neatly combed dark brown hair sat in a cubed room the size of his closet, filling out an application for a job in an office building. The room had old air, and gave Payton a sick feeling. He was working well on the application until one of the questions was: do you have any tattoos on your body? He immediately tugged on his white, freshly ironed sleeve, trying to hide his black-inked italic "every moment is another chance" tattoo. His face turned red as he remembered his "stay true" and "love life" tattoos on his back shoulders, and he quickly excused himself to the bathroom. He dreaded the "tattoo question" asked by some companies. Whenever the question showed up on an application, Payton knew it was because the company wanted to weed out all of the people with tattoos so that they could cross them off the list. The young man stared at his face in the filmy mirror, and whispered to his reflection, "Stay true, you can do this. It's just one job application, it's the sixth one I've filled out this week, anyways. I'm a good person, I'm bound to get a job someplace. I graduated New York University with a 3.9 GPA. The world is mine!"

A flushing sound filled the hollow bathroom as a man in black trousers and a white collard shirt came out and stood besides him to wash his beefy hands. He smirked and shook his head at the young man. "What's your name, son?" he asked in a deep voice.

"My name is Payton, sir," he said with a smile and a handshake.

"Nice to meet you, Payton. Call me Mr. Brooks. So you're filling out an application, are you?"

"Yes, Mr. Brooks. I was applying for—"

Mr. Brooks saw the black ink on Payton's arm, and casually interrupted with a chuckle. "Son, you are never going to get a job at this office."

Confused and judged, Payton smiled nervously, resisting the urge to crack his knuckles. "Why is that, Mr. Brooks?" he stuttered.

"Isn't it obvious? No company in their right mind is going to trust some gangster with meaningless body art. You made a big mistake there, uh… Clayton, was it? I bet your mom was crying when she saw those permanent things on your body the day after that drunk party you probably went to. I hope you know you ruined your life by that one night."

Payton's stomach churned when Mr. Brooks referred to his tattoos as "things".

"Actually sir, um… I thought of these for my eighteenth birthday. My mom said I could get some tattoos since my grades were really good. I got "every moment is another chance" because I wanted to remind myself that it's never too late to fix something wrong, or to make myself a better person. I have "love life" and "stay true" on my back to represent how wonderful and beautiful life can be, and being honest with myself; to live an honest life."

"The only problem is that you can't take back those mistakes," he said smugly, pointing to Payton's arm. "Take my advice, and go get that thing removed. The workplace just doesn't accept tattoos. Just a tattoo alone can give off the first wrong impression. Companies want people they can trust, not a building full of bandits. Have a nice life, Clayton, I hope you can find a job somewhere in this wonderful world."

…… This is not a true story, specifically. But there are hundreds of incidences similar to this passage. Tattoos are commitments. They are life commitments, representing a person's identity and originality. Tattoos are art; a representative for creativity. There is prejudice against people with tattoos everyday. People with tattoos should not be looked down on. The workplace doesn't accept tattoos because they are said to distract the workers in the wrong direction. People with tattoos are no different than people without tattoos. Of course, there are people who get tattoos drunk, or "just because", but the majority of people design their own tattoos, making them personal, or have quotes that mean something to them and that represent their lifestyle and how they view things. People should not be prejudged because of permanent art on their body.




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