Every September someone at the local newspaper gets assigned to do a feature about those whacky back-to-school college kids, and often enough the journalists think of tattoos as a current enthusiasm of youth.

In this portrait of me I'm doing my best to dispel the myth of the badass grungy tattooist with my Minnie Mouse ears on my hat. The caption reads: 

"Pat Fish, who is working on a Celtic tree of life tattoo for David Raleigh, says the two times the typical woman likes to get a tattoo is (sic) when she turns 18 --"Momma can't say no" -- and when she gets divorced -- "Her husband can't say no, and she better do it quick so the new husband can't say no."


The article went on with more strange grammar and excited descriptions of "belly-button piercings" and "gauging." Then I got to get in a few more licks with :

"Scarring was popular, but the only people it really works on is (sic) people who have keloiding factors in their skin," said Pat Fish. That means higher melanin. "The Omega fraternity does it with a coat hanger bent into the Omega, and it will leave a pink, raised scar forever." (They edited out the end of my sentence which was "... because they are Negroes.") 

But Ms. Fish, 50, doesn't do branding at her shop, Tattoo Santa Barbara. In fact, branding a person is illegal in California.

She doesn't even do piercings -- and she can't understand why anyone would sit for some of the more outrageous procedures, some of which leave scars in places nobody wants them.

Ms. Fish wasn't even aware of the "un-eyebrow pierce" when a girl called on a recent day to ask for one. Turns out it's a pierce (sic) under the eyebrow, nearer the lid.

But to Ms. Fish, it's simply disgusting. "It's tackle-box face."

"Kids think a piercing isn't permanent," she added, "They think they can just get whatever they want pierced and then take it out for mom and dad. But it's a permanent scar. A tattoo is a permanent piece of art."

Ms. Fish's specialty is Irish and Celtic imagery, and many clients come from out of state to take advantage of her skill.

"I'm a little less the impulse item," said Ms. Fish. 

You can find this, my hometown daily news paper, online at: 
You can purchase the Tree of Life design I am shown working on in the photo at my online design store: : Image 1150: As Above, So Below.