Everyone with a tattoo has their bullshit reasons behind it; You always want to live by a religious philosophy you briefly learned about in your eastern cultures class, you want to honor that guy you spent a fateful spring break with, you want everyone to know you're hard to touch, hence the barbed wire on your bicep. While none of us want to admit it, most of the mental preparation done before getting a tattoo is figuring out what you're going to say when people ask you what your ink symbolizes. You want to be deep. You want to be profound. You spend months crafting the beautiful soliloquy that will give insight to your masterful epidermal tapestry. But most of us are dumb and only profound in the way that a Zach Braff movie is profound. Every tattoo explanation I've ever heard (including my own) comes off as a cover story for the real reason we get tattoos: they are awesome. You can philosophize all you want, but deep down we know that the reason we brave ridicule from our friends, lectures from our parents, and potential inker's remorse is so we can look cool in a tank top. But few people will admit this is the case. Most stand proudly by their tattoos and their vague, cryptic, undertones.

The trickiest part of this whole equation is that we’re all getting older, and that one day we’re going to have grandkids asking about the muddy purple spots on our forearms and lower backs. Just take a second and imagine your own grandmother, just finishing setting the table for a delicious Thanksgiving feast, saying that she got Death tattooed on her shoulder blade because she always wants to remember that the Reaper’s on her back, man. Now imagine your grandfather, sporting Bermuda shorts and an oxygen tank, saying he got this piece done on his chest because Fall Out Boy is "fucking awesome." Hilarious right? Gaze into your future, American youth. [Editor’s note: Johnny Highland has several tattoos, including one of the dancing ska guy on his arm.]

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