I was just finishing up my morning writing Friday when I realized…

“It’s Friday the 13th. And I’ve never celebrated it.”

Immediately the novelty center that is the eye of the storm of this cerebral insanity in which I reside, began to speak to me – demanding we accomplish something new today – however small. A haunted tour? An abandoned house with a dark and homicidal backstory? There is a “haunted” restaurant ten minutes away… And there’s a museum allegedly graced by ghostly entities nearby I’ve never been to. While I didn’t hate these ideas, they felt insufficient. Plus, some of the stuff on my list of new things has started to feel too… I dunno… planned. The last time I got that real thrill of spontaneous novelty was the day I opted to climb a tree. I kinda wanted that back.

So, I asked Facebook what to do.

He was being snarky – that Aaron – but the suggestion was an IV of thought amphetamine to my brain core

Why not?

Now, I’ve always said I’ll never get a tattoo. And my reasons are that I’ve never believed in anything enough to permanently implant it in my body. I’m fickle. I’m a religious itinerant – interested in whatever y’all hafta say, but you best believe I’ll wander over to the next guy before long to get his take, too. And, as for life partners or lovers, I’ve never felt enough of an undying connection to someone that warranted bodily billboarding it. And as for run of the mill “art”, it never seemed suitable. Even as an artist. Most of the art I dig rotates – and whatever it is I like usually matches whatever emotional season I’m having ATM. None of those concepts ever seemed worth a lifetime skin scribbling. None of them seemed worth making permanent.

Then, as I pondered Aaron’s suggestion, I realized something.

A tattoo’s not permanent. At least, not any more than I am. And I’m definitely not permanent. I might die tomorrow. I might die decades from now. And when I go, my tattoo’ll go with me. So what is permanent then? What is worth believing in enough to have a constant carpal reminder when I plant it on my ring finger? Love. Campy and eye-rolly as it sounds, when you push away all the associations you have to hearing that – love is permanent. That’s my perception, at least. I mean it’s the main common denominator I find in any of the religions that’ve made sense to me – be loving, kind, and act with compassion. So it’s become my religion, slowly, over time – pre-conditional love. And, yes, I suck at it, but so do most people I know leaving the church and cutting each other off to get to the exit of the parking lot. We’re human. We err, we remind ourselves, and we try to improve. That’s actually part of my decision too: a reminder. The fact that I’m pretty terrible at remembering love’s more than just an idea – to act compassionately toward everyone – makes the concept worthy of tatt status. No one ever lays on their death bed and says, “I wish I’d been more of an asshole” (though admittedly it’d be hilarious if they did and I do hope I hear someone say it some day before I die myself).

And why the ring finger?

Granted, the middle finger would’ve been funnier…

(“No, officer, I was saying I love you…”)

But I didn’t think of that until after the fact. Also, I had a kindofa reason. In my culture, the ring finger’s the one that signifies who you’re committed to. As a serial external validation seeker, I tend to forget that in order to give away love in any of its forms – or even receive it – you need to have it first. Gotta build up that shit like an Ikea nightstand before propping up your lamp on it to shine like a milkshake beacon that brings all the boys to the yard. It’s a perpetual epiphany to me that I hafta have some authentic foundation beneath all my cardiac commerce activity other than a giant ego with a “pet me” sign strung ‘round its neck.

Finally, why green? Well, green’s the color that makes my eyes glaze all over and feel amorous – probably because I dig being in the forest and acting like a Wanderlust hippie so much. In spring and summer, when I’m all ensconced in all the chlorophyllic wonder of the woods, it’s like being in love (or on valium) without the nuisance of all those follow-up “why you ain’t text me back?!” thoughts or come-down feels. Funny how a simple color can calm me of all that cognitive kerfuffle – but it can.

So, there you have it. The ink’s not forever – but the concept it represents is.

In that way, it’s my reminder:

That just like the tatt – our days are numbered, what I need to make a priority before I go, and how.

(Or who knows, maybe this’s all just a retrospective justification for another one’a my manic episodes.)