Monday, August 11, 2008


After getting my radiation tattoos seven years ago—six blue dots—I considered getting a more fashionable one. Many cancer patients receive tattoos before radiotherapy to make sure the invisible beams strike only where they need to, and not where they don't, like my nuts, for example. I’d rather not have to change the title of this blog or my book.

I thought about connecting the dots to make a constellation-like figure spanning my lower back and ass. Even I'm not cool enough to get that.

Years later the topic came up with my friend Hamburgers, and I once again considered a new tattoo. A roaring lion or a crouching tiger? A colorful depiction of Rick Astley miming "Never Gonna Give You Up?" The rule is you can only get a tattoo if it's symbolic to you. Although Rick Astley has the greatest music video of all time, that doesn't really count.

It's fairly common for breast cancer survivors to get a tattoo like a pink ribbon or a flower, a symbol of their strength and courage. I, too, could get a tattoo to show I'm part of the survivor club. Of course, no gushy shit for me. I'd go with a flaming, bloody tumor and a giant Rambo knife sticking out of it. Maybe "Survivor" in Hebrew would be more fitting.

Then I thought of how some Holocaust survivors had numbers tattooed for identification purposes. I've always hated wearing medical bracelets. I rip them off as soon as possible. How could I get inked voluntarily when those ultimate survivors were branded permanently without a choice? My 20+ inches of medical scarring is proof enough that I'm a survivor.

…Unless a singer comes along who is more breathtaking than Rick Astley.

Related Story: Survivor Tumor Tattoo