Some people get tattoos to commemorate the loss or life of a loved one. Some get ink done for religious meaning. There are even those who get tattooed to show other inmates in the prison yard just how deadly they are, bearing teardrops that symbolize those they have killed.
For other people, their tattoos arenâ€™t quite as intense. A tattoo can simply be a way of imprinting a piece of art on the one canvas they will carry with them until death. It can be something that makes them smile, something they admire, something that gives others a little taste of their personality.
Such is the case for Jade Pretz, a freshman psychology major at Colorado State University. On her back she dons a depiction of the elusive Blue Ring Octopus, an ocean-dwelling creature whose poison can kill a full-grown man without him ever even realizing he was bitten.
â€œTo be honest it really doesnâ€™t have a whole lot of significance, Iâ€™ve always really liked octopuses, just as animals in general. Iâ€™ve always thought they were really cool,â€ Pretz says. â€œTheyâ€™re small, but theyâ€™re one of the most poisonous animals on Earth . . . theyâ€™re supposedly smarter than lab rats, so thatâ€™s pretty interesting, and they have personalities.â€
Pretz believes that the story behind a tattoo can be anything, but that it is better not too have too little or too much significance.
â€œIt can mean anything you want, because itâ€™s your body,â€ Pretz says. â€œIf it has too much meaning, then that could change. Like if you get your wifeâ€™s name then you get a divorce, or youâ€™re really devoted to something that falls through, then you probably donâ€™t want that tattoo at all.â€
Still, she says, tattoos should mean something real to the owner. â€œIf it doesnâ€™t mean anything to you, if you get like a Smurf tattoo for no reason, youâ€™re probably gonna be pretty upset with yourself in a week or two, so you shouldnâ€™t get that!â€
No matter what the reason behind the ink, there are some people who will never accept it. The societal stigma against tattoos still exists, particularly in the professional world.
â€œIn some places it kind of makes sense, but in general . . . itâ€™s kind of stupid, to be honest,â€ Pretz said. â€œI mean when it comes down to it, thereâ€™s not anything really wrong with tattoos. Thereâ€™s no reason people should be kind of discriminated against.â€
Despite the growing prevalence of tattoos, the ugly truth is that no matter what you have, a grim reaper easily concealed on your back or a visible rosary on your shoulder, the recruiter for that dream job youâ€™re after probably isnâ€™t going to like it.
A wise man once said â€œthink before you ink!â€ Sound advice to all college students with aspirations outside the realm of tattoo artistry or becoming a rock legend. Just like there is no antidote for a Blue Ring bite, there is no cure for an unwanted tattoo.