12:28pm Saturday 14th June 2014
List Item No. 3 Get a tattoo
A FEW years after leaving school, I went to a reunion with an old school friend.
During the seven years we spent there together, my friend was constantly in trouble, for not doing her homework, or for inappropriate clothing or for being cheeky.
I, on the other hand, was quiet and studious, got an A-level in Latin, and never gave anyone cause for concern.
Not unsurprisingly, all the staff at school remembered my friend and recalled with great affection her various exploits. None of them knew my name.
A few years later, my status as an unremarkable person was confirmed during an interview I was doing for a magazine.
The person I was interviewing had been speaking at some length when she suddenly remarked: “You’re so easy to talk to because you’re so non-threatening. It’s like talking to the wallpaper.”
I suppose being utterly unremarkable would be a huge advantage if I wanted to be a criminal; no-one would recall seeing me at all.
These days my hair is silver which just adds to the cloak of invisibility – no-one notices 'old' people.
So I thought it would be nice to get a 'distinguishing feature' in the form of a tattoo.
My daughters thought the idea was hilarious, given that I had strongly advised them against doing the same in their teenage years in case they regretted it later.
But both daughters number two and three said they would pay for a tattoo if I was really prepared to go through with it.
I considered the matter long and hard.
Did I really want a piece of 'body art' that I would be stuck with forever?
Where should it go? And what should I have?
I knew I wanted something that would be really personal to me.
In the end, I decided to go for a tattoo on my right foot, with the words 'Ad astra' and a little cluster of stars. Literally translated from the Latin (I knew it would come in handy), the words mean 'towards the stars' or perhaps we would say 'reach for the stars'.
It was designed and put in place by the husband of a work colleague, Shaun Bonanos, who has a tattoo studio in Cheltenham.
Yes, it hurt a little bit, but it was well worth it – I love it.
If I have on my sensible shoes, the tattoo is concealed and I am my usual unmemorable self.
But I know it’s there and I’m sure I’m walking a little bit lighter because of it.
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