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Kevin Holten: Knowing when you are old

Kevin Holten: Knowing when you are old

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Do you know when you know you are old? It’s not when your joints start to ache. It’s when the younger generation starts to remind you of a railroad boxcar.

What do I mean by that?

I’m sure you’ve noticed that when a train rolls through town there is boxcar after boxcar that is covered with graffiti. Typically they’ve come from some urban area where they’ve been parked overnight, and taggers, as they call them, feel it necessary to spray paint their marks on them, much like a dog marks its territory.

In urban areas, law enforcement agencies treat taggers much like drug addicts, simply because they’ve learned that tagging is very addicting.

For me, every time I see graffiti-laden boxcars, it reminds me of tattoo-laden youngsters. And the mere fact that I refer to them as youngsters, despite the fact that many of them might be approaching 40 years of age, confirms the fact that I am officially old.

You see, I’ve learned to think of this mass tattoo fetish as the dumbest thing in the world next to vaping, piercings, smoking and cotton candy-colored hair.

Of course, the first reaction I get when I admit my tattoo prejudice to someone is them telling me that I am old and out of style. 

Still, the truth is that I am not necessarily prejudiced against tattoos. I am prejudiced against the consistent exclusion of taste and creativity when it comes to selecting tattoos.

Because, let’s face it. You are making a lifetime decision, much like when you decide to get married. Except that you can’t divorce a tattoo.

Part of it, too, is that in addition to having a journalism degree, I also have an art degree. And so I tend to be overly judgmental when it comes to the artwork that someone selects for their body. But let’s face it, in most cases it looks like there must have been a 10 second time limit imposed upon the selection process.

After all, if you owned a business and decided to advertise on a billboard next to a busy street, you’d spend a decent amount of time contemplating a theme that might best summarize your services. And then consult a graphic designer to determine the best way to promote those services.

But when it comes to selecting a tattoo, there are but a few situations in which something at least remotely akin to that might actually take place, and only if the tattoo represents some very meaningful event or person.

Yet all too often, it looks like the tattoo was selected from a child’s color book, a Bazooka bubble gum wrapper or what might most often appear on a tacky carnival T-shirt.

Because, let’s face it, your body is as much a part of the American landscape as Mount Rushmore and those ocean waves.  Therefore you are responsible for investing a little time into what the rest of us have to observe, like it or not.

Meanwhile, I am writing this on election eve, prior to knowing any of the election results, and I just happened to run across this quote by Napoleon Bonaparte who said, “In politics stupidity is not a handicap.”

And I thought to myself, my, how unrelated but potentially appropriate. 

Kevin Holten is the executive producer of "Special Cowboy Moments" on RFD-TV.

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