Pattaya must be the per capita capitol of farangs with tattoos. Shirtless westerners parade the streets to exhibit the beauty of their body art, despite the collateral damage to the colored flesh from the tropical sun. Most tattoos are eagles, dragons, and declarations of never-ending love to go-go girls festooned with vows of fidelity to previous girlfriends. Occasionally you come across tattoos of incredible stupidity.
Several years ago I spotted a twenty year-old with the name DAVID tattooed down his spine.
"Why David?" I asked him.
“So people know who they just saw.”
"You're David?" Conventioneers wear a simple name tag to say hello.
"The one and only." A name tag through his pierced nipple would have been a more effective form of introduction.
"If you say so." David is the second most common name in America. The same has to be true for Britain.
Later I mentioned the stupidity of this particular David to my friend, Jamie Parker. We were sitting at the Buffalo Bar. More than a few of the girls had tattoos and a trio of British lager louts bore years of blue ink on their forearms, necks, and faces.
"Can't you imagine Michelangelo's Statue of David with a tattoo?"
"Good if it wasn't on that little acorn of a penis." Jamie hated male nude statues and their mini-cocks. "You know that I don't have any tattoos."
"Me neither." The nuns at Our Lady of the Foothills warned their students that any skin art banned them from heaven. I had none, even though my faith was atheism. The sisters were excellent teachers.
"Last thing I needed as a kid was an identification scar or body marking." Jamie had been a criminal in his younger years. "In prison cons tattoo to their bodies out of boredom or rebellion. I was always thinking that one day I'd be on the outside and I intended to stay on the outside, but a couple of months ago I was taking a whitewater rafting trip at the Sabaii Massage."
"I know the place." Whitewater rafting was the local euphemism for a soapie with a naked girl or two.
"This one spinner had the PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE to the American flag tattooed on her back. Being with her made me feel a little patriotic."
"I can imagine the feeling." Neither of us had been back in the USA for years. "I have a friend who had MADE IN THE UK tattooed on his forehead."
"Stupid place for a tattoo."
"Even worse his mother told him he had been born in Poland."
"What about Thai tattoos?"
"I don't talk about that. I'm a guest of this country and those tattoos are magic." Jamie had a healthy fear of red-lom.
"Traditional Thai tattoos or 'sakyant' are supposed to protect the wearers from misfortune and evil spirits and anyone getting men tattooed are asked to obey the five following rules; honor your parents, be faithful to your wife, no drugs, don't eat any fruit from off the ground, and no oral sex with women."
"I'm good with honoring my parents, faithful to my wife, and fruit off the trees, unless you're hungry."
"I'm good with most of them too." The oral sex was impossible. "But my real problem with tattoos is finding one I could live with the rest of my life. 69, Born to be Wild, Mom, the name of my son or daughter might have fit the bill."
"But not the Pledge of Allegiance."
"Not a chance." I don't need to prove my allegiance to the USA. "I doubt that poor girl knows what she’s wearing."
"Probably true, but America salutes her patriotism."
We lifted our beer glasses to toast her.
"USA USA USA."
The Brits at the bar glared at us. Jamie glared right back. We weren't going to heaven, but we were in Pattaya and as anyone knows who has lived in the Last Babylon for more than two weeks it's paradise on earth.