{Freehand Friday} Tattoos and Words: The Common Denominator

Do you know what tattoos and words have in common?


And no, I’m not talking about the crude Chinese character for love tattooed on your shoulder that your unsanitary basement artist pulled out of his fortune cookie and put in his portfolio.


We all know that shit really stands for soup.


I’m talking about the profound Freudian psychoanalysis of perpetually altering your body and mind.


Because I’m not a psychologist, I’m going to illustrate my point using math. I’m not a mathematician either, but my elementary school teacher insisted I’d eventually need to know this stuff.


So sit back, bitches! You’re about to be enlightened with a mathematical metaphor about life.


Using words. Not numbers.


Because we’re using words not numbers, there’re no correct answers.


Suck it, Mrs. Math Teacher!


Just so we’re all on the same page:

-A common denominator is the same number, in the bottom of a fraction, shared by two or more fractions.

-A common denominator is essential for adding or subtracting fractions.

-To find the common denominator, multiply the top and bottom of each fraction by the denominator of the other. And then, reduce.


Sweet Baby Jesus.

I. Hate. Math.


So here we go! (Whoomp, there it is!)


I believe these two statements to be true; tattoos are a form of art and writing is a form of communication.


Let’s set up the equation based on my beliefs.





Sexy, right? I know you just had a mathgasm.


Now multiply the top and bottom of each fraction by the denominator of the other.






Since there’re two sets of the same words in the denominator position, let’s clean up the equation. And add some parentheses for aesthetics.




Now let’s use the order of operations to solve this equation.


Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction.


Please. Excuse. My. Dear. Aunt. Sally.


Apparently, she’s either a bitch or she farted. Mrs. Math Teacher wasn’t exactly clear about my “aunt’s” supposed indiscretion.


Solve: (Communication x Tattoos)


If we multiply communication by tattoos, to me it equals unique.


Unique is a state of being where something is the only one of its kind.


“A tattoo is a true poetic creation, and is always more than meets the eye. As a tattoo is grounded on living skin, so its essence emotes a poignancy unique to the mortal human condition.” – V.Vale


Solve: (Art x Words)


If we multiple art by words, to me it equals emotion.


An emotion is a psychological state that arises spontaneously rather than through conscious effort. It usually produces feelings.


“[A] genuine tattoo…tells a story. I like stories and tattoos, no matter how well done, and if they don’t tell a story that involves you emotionally, then they’re just there for decoration, then they’re not a valid tattoo. There has to be some emotional appeal or they’re not, to my way of thinking, a real tattoo. It tells people what you are and what you believe in, so there’s no mistakes.” – Leo, tattooist, 1993, quoted in Margo DeMello, Bodies of Inscription, 2000


Now the equation becomes:







Continue using the order of operations.


Solve: (Art x Communication)


If we multiple art by communication, to me it equals expression.


Expression is the act of representing in art, words, music, or movement; a manifestation.


“You put a tattoo on yourself with the knowledge that this body is yours to have and enjoy while you’re here. You have fun with it, and nobody else can control (supposedly) what you do with it. That’s why tattooing is such a big thing in prison: it’s an expression of freedom—one of the only expressions of freedom there. They can lock you down, control everything, but ‘I’ve got my mind, and I can tattoo my body—alter it my way as an act of personal will.'” – Don Ed Hardy


Coincidentally, in mathematics, an expression is a combination of symbols that represents a relationship between quantities.


I guess Mrs. Math Teacher was right.


Since the common denominator has been rendered, now the equation can be added.







Solve: Unique + Emotions


If we add unique and emotions, to me it equals permanent.


Permanent is something that remains without change.


“A tattoo is something permanent when you’ve made a self-discovery, or something you’ve come to a conclusion about.” – Angelina Jolie







Now that we’re done with damn Aunt Sally, we can solve the equation.


If we divide permanent by expression, to me it equals scars.


A scar is an enduring sign of harm or injury that can be both mental and physical.


“Scars are Like Tattoos but With Better Stories” – Trial By Fire: Lives Re-Forged


So, what do tattoos and words have in common; they’re both scars.


Fuck-sticks who whine, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” have never had someone bellow across the high school cafeteria, “Don’t drink that! You’ll catch her disease!”


Emotional scars last just as long as physical scars.


If you’re brave enough, show me your scars in the comment’s section.

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