This tattoo was an adventure and a half to get. During the weekend of June 13, 1998, I set out from New Jersey to attend the first ever ALCON '98 convention in Evanston, IL. Horrible weather at Newark airport canceled my outgoing flight and I was stuck on standby for a few hours. I was able to get on the next flight to Chicago after the weather cleared enough to let a few planes take off, but by that time, unable to get in touch with my ride picking me up in Chicago, I missed my ride to the hotel and had to wing it on the subway system. I eventually got there, but I was beat.
Luckily the day of the convention was fun and problem free. One of the highlights, if not the highlight of the day was when Bermuda gave his speech and introduced Al to the surprise of everyone there. During a little autograph session, I showed Al my tattoo of him and he was amazed. After things settled down, I approached Jon about doing the same thing with his name and portrait. Jon was very friendly and sincere, as usual, and he signed my ankle in a blue marker. He signed it three times until we both agreed on a signature we were happy with. I was careful sleeping that evening and careful in the shower the following morning, as not to smear or alter the signature.
Then on Sunday, only a few hours after my flight home, I went to the tattoo studio, and Kerry, who had done another tattoo on me, inked the signature. He was great and right on the money. Kerry took some before and after pictures and we lined them up and other than the color, (It was inked in black ink.) it's identical.
Months passed before I started looking for a picture of Jon and planning the image part of the tattoo. I found some great pictures, but nothing that was exactly what I was looking for. I asked Jon if he could look through his personal collection for pictures that fit my criteria and he came back with four great choices. I narrowed it down to two, and for the longest time couldn't decide. Finally I decided on a nice shot of Jon from after a concert circa early 1998, and brought it to Scotty, the guy who did my Al portrait tattoo and made an appointment for Thursday, January 14, 1999.
Snow and ice closed the tattoo shop on Thursday and Friday, so I had to reschedule. We settled on an appointment on Tuesday, January 19, 1999 at 6:00 p.m., figuring that would give me enough time to get home from work, relax, have some dinner, and head to the tattoo studio. Nah couldn't be that easy!
On the way home from work I notice smoke coming from my car's hood. I stop on the side of the highway and one of the hoses had cracked or was loose and I was low on antifreeze. Being careful not to damage the car I have to stop a few times on the highway and wait for the car to cool off and stopped at the nearest gas station and got some antifreeze and called for Dad to meet me and follow me to the mechanic in his car, just in case. By the time we get to the mechanic, the smoke is really bad, and it's approaching 5:00 p.m. Knowing it will take me a half hour to get to the tattoo studio, I'm a bit worried, especially since I now have no car. I was able to borrow my Mom's car and made it in time for my appointment.
From here on out, I'm happy to say no more trouble. As if I need to say this, Scotty did a wonderful job on the tattoo. It took two full hours, and, wow, does it look good! Every little detail is right on the money. I know Scotty was having fun with this one because we were joking around about how Al's hair took about 40 minutes to do, and Jon's only about 10 minutes.
On July 19, 1999, at a show in Green Bay, WI, Jon saw the tattoo for the first time. He was very pleased with it, though he joked that I should add some hair to it. After the show, Al saw the tattoo of Jon for the first time also. Al got a big kick out of it too and laughed hysterically for about 3 minutes straight. Jon introduced me to Jay Levey, Al's manager, and showed him the tattoos also. As Jon said, "He was blown away." I had a great time backstage showing off my tattoo and 'm glad that Jon liked how the picture came out.
Special thanks to Jon, Scotty, and Kerry for making this special occasion possible. Top photo courtesy of Unruly Julie. Bottom photo courtesy of The *other* Amanda.