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Oh yeah…

… the internets! I’ll cut to the chase: I now have the triforce tattooed on my right wrist. It’s solid black, not gold, and about an inch and a half tall. There are pictures of it floating around, but none of them seem to have trickled onto the internets yet, so you’ll have to use your imagination for now. This is one of the life-changing events I mentioned a while ago.

Yeah, yeah, I’m a big nerd, I know. Uh oh, they’re onto me! The jig is up! It’s not like I was fooling anyone before, but at least now people know it doesn’t scare me. Because tattoos are tough, yo.

My journey to acquire the triforce was, much like Link’s, long. I don’t mean driving to the tattoo parlor in Ballard — that only took like twenty minutes. If you’ll recall, my original idea for a tattoo was an order of magnitude worse. Fortunately for myself, my friends, and my potential future grandchildren, I changed my mind shortly thereafter, and for most of the intervening (almost) three years I lusted after a triforce on my wrist. Remembering my folly with the gecko, I wisely told myself that I would wait at least two years before deciding; if, after all that time, I still thought it was a good idea to carve a video game’s holy relic into my flesh, I would do so. About a month ago I realized it had been two years and it still seemed like a good idea. And, as luck would have it, concurrent with this realization, Nintendo was poised to release their new Zelda title along with their new system, the Wii, in a matter of weeks. If you know anything about me you know how rabidly I awaited that launch. Nintendo only releases a Zelda title every 4 or 5 years, so I would not soon again have as auspicious an occasion to get my tattooo. I called Slave to the Needle and put a $50 deposit on some chair time on Nov. 12, exactly one week before the North America release of the Wii and Zelda. Later that afternoon, I had permanently etched into my flesh the object for which I had spent so many countless hours of my life questing.

(This isn’t why I got the triforce tattooed — that’s because I like Zelda more than almost anything else on the planet, and I find the geometry of the design itself to be simple, beautiful, and elegant. But when people ask, I tell them this: the triforce is a symbol of limitless personal potential. He who possesses it commands infinite power to reshape the world in his own image. Go on, tell me that’s not better than the Chinese ideogram for “peace.” Or, if the inquirer has that glassy, vacant look, I plan to tell them it’s “a tribal symbol.”)

As for getting the tattoo itself: there’s nothing to be afraid of, folks. Kelly accompanied me for moral support, but the experience was completely free of trauma, emotional or physical. The needles feel about like you would expect them to: like they are jabbing you with needles. But it’s a dull pain, not at all like being pricked by a pin. Long before the tattoo artist had finished drawing the edges of the design with his fine-detail gun, I had completely come to terms with my discomfort and no longer noticed. While he switched to the fill-in gun (the tattoo equivalent of the paint bucket tool in MS Paint), I was feeling glib enough to ask if it was too late to move the tattoo a half inch to the left.

I love my tattoo. I’ve taken some ribbing from coworkers and friends, but so far I am totally unwavering in my enjoyment. I may come to regret my decision when I’m an old man and I have to explain to my potential grandchildren what a video game was and I why I felt compelled to such ritualistic mutilation in one’s name. But for now, even that very thought fills me with indescribable glee. A tattoo’s permanence is a large part of its appeal, at least speaking for myself. I imagine it’s a common sentiment.

With this contextual hint, can you guess the second life-changing event of the last month?

Posted in Musings.

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