I grew up in Mobile, Alabama a hundred years ago (almost). I remember you could buy bubble gum with a “tattoo” included in the package that could be applied with water and a little pressure. It was usually a cartoon character, a flower, or some decorative design. They were very temporary.

The only people I had ever seen with permanent tattoos were sailors or merchant seaman whose ships were docked in the port city. One of the most common designs was a heart with an arrow through it and sometimes the name of a sweetheart below it. There was also the American flag or the occasional dragon or some other creation. Often the body art was the result of a night on the town and too much to drink.

Things have changed. Tattoos are fairly common nowadays and they are not limited to men of the sea. Young and old, male and female, bikers and bankers, engineers and entrepreneurs, professionals and blue collar workers, preachers and painters, artists and athletes- equally decorated with simple or elaborate designs. They are tiny and huge. A little indiscreet symbol or the entire body is a canvas.

Another change in fashion since the days of my boyhood is the wearing of earrings. In those long ago days earrings were definitely accessories worn only by females. I was a grown man before they became fashionable for males. Nowadays it is not at all unusual to see a man with diamond studs or dangly decorations in their pierced ears.

And have you noticed that other body piercing has become more common?

Tattoos for both genders and men wearing earrings are pretty much mainstream now in our culture. I have never had a desire to have anything engraved in my skin and having holes punched in my ears or any other part of my anatomy for decorative purposes has never appealed to me. But that’s just me.

Although I don’t have any body art or piercings, it does not mean it is not alright for someone else to have them. I don’t really understand the attraction of these things but I guess it is not necessary that I do. I suspect there are things that I like and enjoy which others think are strange. Sometimes we “strain at gnats and swallow camels.”

There is a lot about life that I don’t understand or approve of but I am learning that many things don’t really matter after all. Human beings are complex creatures and each one is unique.

God give me the wisdom to discern what matters and devote myself to them and the tolerance to accept other things as they are.

Jamie Jenkins