Sometimes internet life takes the strangest turns. Despite the fact that I have written a number of essays on various topics of interest to the 23 regular readers who frequent this blog (none of them being from my own lodge, let alone from Connecticut), the single topic search that attracts the most visitors to this blog – yes, even more than anything to do with religious Anti-Masons, Illuminati/NWO konspiracy theories, our Zeta-Reticulan overlords protectors, or even the Southington Apple Harvest Festival – is “Masonic Tattoo.”
I kid thee not.
About two and a half years ago, I ran across the Masonic Ink web site, and me being just childish enough to think the idea was cool, I wrote a small blog about it, called “Not your grandfather’s Square & Compasses.” I followed that up a year later when I discovered that some of my brother Masons right here in Connecticut had some pretty cool skin art, not the least of them being the Grand Master himself; Most Worshipful Bill Greene, who graciously allowed me to feature it in the article.
Since then, my visits from web searches on some variation of “Masonic Tattoos” have steadily increased. More impressive, though, is the growth of the Masonic Ink website. Started as an offshoot of “The Master’s Jewel,” a site that sold Masonic jewelry, it had only a few dozen pics a couple of years ago; it now rocks the body mod world with almost 700 pictures in close to 200 galleries. More interesting, though, is that the variety of pictures show a lot of members who are anything but gray-haired, moss-backed, old turtles, testifying to the resurgence of Masonry among the younger crowd.
So naturally, I was pleased when the October issue of our own state publication, The Connecticut Freemason, featured a two-page, full-color spread about the body ink amongst our own brothers, accompanied by a several page article. I was also pleasantly surprised to learn that several of our own not only wear the ink, but do the artwork: Chriss Finalis, Mark Roberts, and Michael Jay, all of whom have studios in different parts of the Nutmeg State.
Of course, they copped my shot of Grand Master Bill’s tattoo, but I guess it’s understandable, as most of the other Grand Line officers don’t have Masonic Ink. There are, however, several purple-aproned Masonically inked brothers. But you’ll have to read the article to discover who.
I could end this article right now, but that would be one-sided. Last year, I had an anonymous comment on my Grand Tattoo article that appeared to have been left by a brother Mason who objected to the idea of tattoos as intemperate and excessive. While I personally disagree, believing that – as expressed in our charges – it is the internal, and not the external qualifications of a man that is the most important, I can understand that some people grew up in an era which regarded such outward displays as unseemly. And that’s okay, we are a big fraternity, and there is room for disagreement.
Surprisingly, though, our state publication (which receives very little in the way of “Letters to the Editor”) has had some feedback to the effect that some members did not appreciate the featured tattoos, and especially not the full color front page picture. While I know this because I happen to be a member of the committee that publishes The Connecticut Freemason, I would have liked to have been able to discuss the issue with those who objected, if only to offer them equal time to present an opposing viewpoint.
Anyway, one would imagine that, having had a couple of years to think about it, I’d have my own tattoo now, perhaps even displayed in the October issue, right? Unfortunately, no. The truth is that while I’d really like one, I have not yet hit on a design that I think that I would be happy with when I’m, say, 80 years old.
Essentially, this is what has kept me from getting any tattoo; frankly, I’ve had a hard time imagining liking anything enough to want it for the next 20 or 30 years, especially not being able to get rid of the thing.
I have to stop writing now. My wife, who had been reading this over my shoulder, said that she needs to have a word with me. Something about being lucky if I live for the next 20 or 30 years. . .