It was the summer of 1992. And I was certain I wanted a “Jerry Bear” tattoo. Never mind that I only vaguely knew who Jerry Garcia was and couldn’t name a single Grateful Dead song. (Still can’t, come to think of it). I was 15 and they were cool! At least, that’s what all the other kids seemed to think.
Fast forward 21 (!!!) years. I don’t have a tattoo. No inked homage to an era of music I wasn’t even alive for or familiar with. No permanent display that I’ll have to explain to my children or, worse, my grandparents. It’s not because I stopped wanting one. Not even my fear of needles could have scared me off.
But my parents could. And did.
I still remember the threat of disowning if I even THOUGHT about it. I should really send my parents a thank you note.
Laws are in place in every state to keep children from coming home with stupid tattoos. In many states you can’t even get one with your parents’ blessing unless you’re 18. It’s just one of many things we’re prevented from doing without consent until we’re legal adults. The list is long and includes:
Buy tobacco products.
Be on a jury.
Enter into a legal contract.
Rent a hotel room.
Enter the military.
Drive without restrictions.
Buy a car.
Presumably, the government has good reason to restrict each of these activities until you’re 18. At 18 you’re more capable of making responsible decisions. (Not responsible enough to buy alcohol but that’s for another article). Which makes it curious that the Department of Justice, yesterday, dropped its plan to appeal the FDA’s decision to allow anyone to get the morning-after pill.