It’s Five Below Zero and Time for a Tattoo


“Hi Tom, Aren’t you glad you’re not out on that Appalachian Trail today?” said the waitperson who took my order at The Brown Bag, my current favorite lunch spot in Rockland, ME. Ever since the picture of me stretched out on the road next to the white hand lettered “2000 miles” marker was on the front page of our local paper, complete strangers have asked me, “Aren’t you the guy who walked the Trail?” She even knew what I wanted when I told her, “Do you know my regular order?” Just to let you know, it’s home made haddock chowder with a half fresh roasted turkey salad sandwich , on rye ( with chips and a dill pickle).
Today, I’ve got to be talking about the depth of winter here. It was 5 below zero when I walked up the driveway to get the paper at 6 AM and the sky was still black, the moon was out and there were stars shimmering above my crunchy steps. The photo at the top of this page was taken this morning from the inside of our bathroom window looking out to the North. Those icicles get longer and thicker every day.
I am slowly getting excited about working on this blog. My “Wordpress For Dummies” book came in today, so I should be improving the look and features of this web site. It just came out and has a 2008 copyright date, so it should becurrent for a least a few weeks or so.
I was planning on hitting the YMCA this afternoon and working out on the trusty Stairmaster, but this afternoon I got hung up at the local tattoo parlor (Extreme Images Tattooing, 688 Main St, Rockland, ME 04841, 207-594-8282), which is also a fairly popular piercing establishment as well. The owner, Richard, who prefers to be called by his nickname, Straightjacket, didn’t even recognize me until I visually reminded him about his custom tattoo of the flaming accordion that I have on my right arm. It’s big.
I had a general idea of what work wanted to have done on my lower leg, as part of a larger piece of work. After he quizzed me for a while, we set to work coming to some sort of mutual end product. It is probably impossible to verbally describe this thing, but suffice it to say that I am having a sort of personal image of the AT done on my body. For those of you that have been visitors to my AT Trailjournal, you already about MEGATEX, the close band of eight (or is it nine ? ) men who met in Georgia and who generally hung together for the entire 6 month walk. If you haven’t seen my Trailjournal, the link is on the right column.
So the word MEGATEX is one component of the image, Mt. Katahdin is on there big time, and the classic AT symbol is in the mix as well. Most of my time with Straightjacket was spent with him quizzing me about what the AT meant to me. Once he had the larger elements of the piece set, he honed in on the graphic nature of the letters in MEGATEX, as he felt they had to somehow convey the feeling of the three individual states, Maine, Georgia and Texas, home to the members of our gang. It took about an hour and a half of me talking and then standing around the shop, looking at the tools and pictures on the walls, and Straightjacket scanning in a Katahdin photo and then him pencil sketching additional details before we had something. Right now I am not exactly sure of what the end product will be , but Straightjacket told me to come back in a week when he should have something for me to decide upon.
The tattoo is going to happen, and when it does, I’ll post it here. Should be impressing its permanence on me sometime this month.

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