I went to the beach the other day.  As a temporarily disabled person, I thought a day trip might help me forget all the paychecks I’m not earning.  In addition, my Robo-Cop brace will undoubtedly result in a bitching-cool tan pattern on my otherwise withering arm.


I've never seen the movie, but I hear this one is even cooler than the one Karl Urban wore.

Nothing accentuates a cool scar like a bitching tan.

The trip served its intended purposes and then some; I’ve got a decent base coat on my lame wing and my rapidly dwindling cash reserves are no longer the star of my every thought.  As it happens, my brain has a new focus.  Having spent several hours staring at hundreds of scantily clad strangers while my wife slept nearby under the umbrella, I’ve developed a new fascination with what I’ll lovingly describe as rib tickler tattoos.

As a non-tatted sort of fellow, I have an outsider’s view on any body ink.  I’ve written about tattoos before, and barring a sudden emergence of fun new topics, I likely will again.  For those of you who are Amish and/or possibly live in cold places where the only ribs you see are accompanied by cornbread and wet naps, allow me to provide a description.  Many people have written words tattooed on their sides.  The number of words may vary anywhere from just a couple all the way up to a short essay.

I’ve taken the liberty of delving further into this phenomenon.  My research was purely observational, as I was quite comfortable in my beach chair and didn’t wish to actually speak with anyone.

The subject must first decide whether to ink up the left or right rib cage, below the armpit and above the love handles.  Anatomically, the ribs on the left are closer to the heart.  In fairness to the lesser organs, it should be mentioned that the left ribs are really close to the spleen.  The right sided ribs are in liver and gall bladder territory. One could assume then, that left-sided tattoos represent something near and dear to the person’s heart, as there is scant history of anyone having particularly deep feelings about their spleens.   We can further deduce that right-sided body art is likely to be related to alcohol, fatty foods or because the left-side ribs were already occupied.

Once the landing zone for the ink is chosen, it’s time to come up with some sort of quote.  Consider for a moment how exciting this concept must be for those of us who write.  After publishing countless blog posts and wondering if people actually read anymore, this is big news.  Sadly, most quotes appear to come close to the length of Tweets and not the long-winded dissertations about middle age, dog flatulence and male-pattern baldness for which my blog post are known.

After the text is chosen, it’s time pick a font.  Many of the women appear to favor what can best be described as “swirly-girlie script“.  These ladies are likely unaware of some of the pitfalls of this style, as illustrated by countless misinterpretations of wedding invitations.  More than a few guests have been stumped trying to find “Faturday Feptember Fixth” on their calendars – those fancy S’s just look too much like F’s.  Block lettering is rarely seen in the rib locale, and Gothic appears to typically be reserved for chest or back displays of faith, gang affiliation or soccer team allegiance.

Yes, that's me.  Yes, I've doctored the photo to add the tattoo.  Yes, I was in better shape then. Yes, I'm sucking in the gut.  No, manscaping is not for everyone.

Yes, that’s me. Yes, I’ve doctored the photo to add the tattoo. Yes, I was in better shape then. Yes, I’m sucking in the gut. No, manscaping is not for everyone.

I would go into detail of what the rib tickler tattoos say, but there were problems with deciphering content.  Many people on the beach don’t hold still long enough to allow for reading of their girdle graffiti.  When they do stand motionless, the messages are nearly always bisected by their arms, which may or may not have inked messages of their own.  Those who lie motionless on blankets with their arms over their heads present better visual access.  However, trying to read flowery script sideways from a discreet distance while not appearing to be a pervert looking for side-boob eye-candy is more difficult than one might imagine.

One guy who was wading near me appeared to have something about a “..man from Nantucket” on his ribs, but an unfortunate heat rash obscured the rest.  A girl on the next blanket had a vaguely familiar passage on her which seemed to include the idea that “..if you love fomething, fet it free..“.  I would tell you the rest of the quote, but before I could read it, she scowled at me, tied her bikini top back on and left.

It occurred to me that above-elbow amputees without their prosthetics could count on better readability than the rest of us.  If I were in their situation though, I’d prefer to have the tattoo be of my missing arm, which in turn could have a tattoo on it.  I’ll keep you posted in the event I lose an arm and find a quote that has such deep meaning to me that I need to emblazon it beneath my armpit.

Permanently having oneself decorated with words should not be taken lightly.  Bearing this in mind, I’d like to use this blog platform to declare any and all phrases written by myself on this or my primary blog (1pointperspective) as free for the taking for anyone who’s considering a rib tickler tattoo but can’t find anything else catchy enough for their liking.  I’ve taken the liberty of picking out a few random snippets of my word-smithery for your consideration;

“Would “E.T.” have touched our hearts so deeply if Spielberg had sailed through his early years without a single titty-twister?” – Bully For You

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“As the world teeters on the brink of absolute bedlam, I suppose it’s a perverse luxury to spend our time worrying about a skinny white girl shaking her moneymaker on a TV award show.” – More Tawdry Viewing

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“Let’s not get it twisted, I aint no retiree in a Bunny suit down at the mall gettin’ my pic snapped with your brat for five bucks a throw.  I’m talking the real deal here – these ears aint clip-ons.” – Life On The Trail *

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“…the spelling portion of the pet grooming curriculum is not as critical as “Advanced Schnauzer Trimming” or graduate level offerings such as “Persian Cats and the Dingleberry Dilemma.” – The Sarcasm Workout

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“I explained to my wife, who should already know me better than this, that I draw left handed, but do athletic things right handed. After she stopped laughing, she demanded to know how I could classify wiping my ass as an athletic feat.” Livin’ La Vida Lefty

– + –

By all means, don’t feel obligated to choose from only these samples, you’re more than welcome to read every blog word I’ve written.  Get your friends to do the same, so they can give you feedback.  Anyone who chooses to use my words on their rib tickler tattoo is guaranteed to have their very own custom post written by yours truly.  Just send me a photo of the finished work so I can include it in the blog once I finish shaking my head.  As always, I reserve the right to ridicule you.


* Those of you who choose the Easter Bunny quote can opt to accompany it with this illustration - no royalty charges if you order by midnight.  (Illustration by the author)

* Those of you who choose the Easter Bunny quote can opt to accompany it with this illustration – no royalty charges if you order by midnight. (Illustration by the author)