Powers of Two

The biggest problem uninked people have with tattoos is their permanence, the fact that something cool now will likely not be cool later.

And that's totally understandable.

In fact, I would be disturbed to think that anything I think now will be what I think, say, fifty years from now. Surely my attitudes, beliefs, desires will change with time. I'm counting on it.

For me, tattoos are more of a scrapbook. Each one represents something - an event, a person, a feeling, a thought, etc. - significant at the time I commit it to skin. My arm is my story. I can go from piece to piece and track my adventures, my changes, my loves, my fears, my hopes.

But why the tetrapus? Well, first off, the design perfectly compliments the available real estate: my shoulder. It is more or less circular and the curvatures of the tentacles follow the contours of the musculature beneath the skin. It is also solid and abstract, making it an effective upper cap to the sleeve.

But what does it mean? This is a more complicated question, so I'll begin at the beginning: I turned to Kevin and said, "I want a logo. An octopus." I chose the octopus because it was the nickname given to supertycoon J. P. Morgan, because he had his hands in everything (all eight of them). At the time, I was going to create a network of loosely joined enterprises. Four of them, in fact. But as I am relatively easy going, the nature of the systems changed, some dissolved entirely, and now the tetrapus is a joke of sorts, a crippled octopus. I am effectively half as invested as J. P. Morgan.

As applied to Pop Culture Tragedy, the tetrapus is rotated upside down as a symbol of new perspectives. I've been working on the comic for 128 days now (yet another power of two) and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. So much so that, despite my history of abandonment, I plan to continue.

That's why I got a tetrapus tattoo.