03 April 2022

Tattwo Parley

In 2005, a Chicago man opted for a tattoo to honor his home city. It was a great tat with ornate lettering. He went for it, Chi-town. Except when he returned home, he discovered it read Chi-Tonw.


Oops. He sued the tattoo business, but since he’d signed off on the template (made with antique transparency machines!), some sort of settlement was reached. Curiously, it started a fad with other Chicagoans getting their own Chi-Tonw art.

Me, I think bare skin is beautiful, but I may be an exception. I knew a guy who had trouble paying his rent, but he estimated he’d paid out $20,000 for his skin art. He claimed it was an investment.

You might think a tattoo would be something to proofread twice over, but alas, spelling seems to be that last thought, not the first. Chinese lettering is especially troublesome where a single stroke can completely change a meaning. Just because your artist might look Asian, it doesn’t necessarily imply he knows Chinese. Apparently the following means ‘hooker’.


The following guy preempted questions with the wording: “I don’t know. I don’t speak Chinese.”

Undecorated: I don’t know. I don’t speak Chinese. Decorated: I don’t know. I don’t speak Chinese.
“I don’t know. I don’t speak Chinese.” Fully decorated. © NextShark

As Ray Bradbury demonstrated, everyone has a story. Unfortunately, many students weren’t paying attention in Mrs. Henshaw’s English class. In the following, the contraction you’re seems especially troubling.

Your blood, Mrs. Henshaw’s tears.

Know Your Alive

When in doubt, double down.

The Cards Your Delt


I'm Awsome!

And sometimes we make the wrong Choises.

Life is a Choise

That's no excuse.

Everyone Elese Does

I'm soooo jalous of the punctuation.

Are You Jalous&

God and Mrs. Henshaw

ONly God Will Juge Me

Except lack of a spell-checker.

Regret Nohing

Stating the Obvious.

Somke Weed

Revolutionary 101, it's Systsemic.

ƒ the Systsem

As the James Bond franchise wore on…

Tomarrow Never Knows

Now that's just sad.

Tradgey • Comedy

Uh, okay, I get it. I'm outta here.

Your Next
neutered male symbol, male with bar through it

But wait, there’s more.

While researching, I came across a charming story about a guy who’d adopted a rescue dog from a pound. The dog had been tattooed, and the new owner felt badly for it. In solidarity with his new pet, he had the same tattoo burned into his skin. Aww, sweet!

Normally the story would end there, but the innocent owner hadn’t checked out the meaning of the tattoo.
It meant ‘neutered’.

Unless otherwise noted, pictures © Sverige2


  1. LOL! I never got a tatt: I couldn't make up my mind! The dog story sounds like something out of a Benny Hill sketch!

    1. Me either, Jeff. I don't care what color it is, I prefer bare skin.

      Actually I do have a tat of sorts. In college, a guy jabbed a pencil into the back of my hand, snapping off the lead. A student said, "That's yours for life." He apparently was right. I still have that mark.

  2. Clearly the tattoo needle doesn't have a spell check- not what's a bit of software waiting to be developed, or maybe misspellings are considered edgy.

    1. I'm dismayed how many people dismiss spelling, grammar, punctuation. I previously mentioned a landlady who turned down my offer to correct her English on her dating web site. One of the internet 'influencers' announced that punctuation on cell phones isn't merely superfluous, it's rude. Ugh.

  3. A good illustration of how mistakes happen!

  4. Priceless!
    I've never gotten a tattoo or piercings. My goal is to leave life with wrinkles, not statements, and the same number of holes I came in with.

  5. I see room to slide in a few corrections. Proofread, people!

    1. Bob, it's one thing to have an embarrassing typo in a manuscript or worse, a letter to a potential publisher, but in a message indelibly engraved on the skin? Huh-uh.

  6. I always think people in Europe who speak multiple languages, must shake their heads in disdain at the ignorance of North Americans who can't seem to spell the only language they speak correctly :)

    1. Vous êtes gentille avec nous, les Yankees, Melodie. (I probably messed that up.) It is embarrassing, Melodie.

  7. After some mass arrests one weekend, we were processing a biker's ol' lady. Since I was doing the personal history sheets, I asked if she had any tattoos.

    She replied that she had one above the hair line.

    I stood up and leaned across the desk to see the top of her head until she said, "Not that hair line."

    1. That's one way to identify a body, RT. That's a great line for a story.

  8. Leigh, I only saw your post today, after posting my own. My Dutch tulips may make you gaps in aw, but your pix made me laff like carzy. (You know Carzy, don't you? He's really funny. No, not Czary, that's Putin.)

    1. I didn't know until I looked it up, Liz. And Czary… Vladimir puts the Putin in Rasputin.

      Love those tulips.

  9. One of those tats reminded me of a day I was in court when one of my defendants was being sentenced. The judge was in a good mood and gave him probation instead of jail time, but her mood changed when he turned around and started to leave. The back of his T-shirt read, "Only God can judge me." At least it was spelled correctly, and the shirt was removeable.

  10. Oh, Leigh, I love Dr. Turlington's Tattoo Remover! And yes, RT - you've got to use that line in a story.


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