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The Man With The Zombie Tattoo
Peter Tatara - November 5, 2010

I'm on the train right now, heading from Grand Central to Queens. You see all sorts of people on the train, especially during rush hour and when it's stupid late at night. It's the former right now, and I'm glad about that, as I wouldn't want to run into the guy I'm looking at now at night. The dude's across from me, standing near the door. He's in ripped jeans and a black leather jacket. His hair, also black, is pulled back into a long pony tail. Back to the jeans and jacket, he's filled in both with an amount of muscle that's the work of decided concentration. He's built, so what? Well, we're not there yet, as he's got the sleeves of his jacket pulled up, his forearms bare.

His left forearm's got a tattoo. Rather, his left forearm is a tattoo. A portrait takes up the whole of his exposed skin. A portrait of what? A zombie. A flesh-eating, skin-crawling, puss-spewing, brain-open-to-the-air zombie. Big, green, and ugly, this dude decided to invest a fair amount of his personal, indelible canvas to a picture of a zombie. Hell, investing any of your skin for an image of the undead is a ballsy choice, and I really want to know what's up with it.

Is he a Romero fan? Does he totally dig Milla Jovovich? Maybe it's a political statement? Maybe it's a tribute to a fallen friend? Maybe he lost a bet? I just can't comprehend what would make someone -- anyone -- turn their arm into the detailed likeness of a putrid, green monster.

I'm not one into body art or modification at all. I get why people do it -- most of the time -- and I respect it, but I'm just too afraid of needles and blood to seriously consider it for myself. If I had to think about the kind of tattoo I'd want, it would be stupidly geeky, a representation of DNA, something in binary, or a barcode. I wouldn't want art, but rather text or something to be deciphered. But, this is neither here nor there. Regardless of what I'd want, I'd want it someplace benign. Even if I had an adorable puppy scrawled into my skin, I wouldn't want it on my forearm, as I imagine this would have some serious career-limiting ramifications.

And if an office is none-too-thrilled with my big-eyed puppy tattoo, I've got to assume a zombie dripping blood and bile would end the first interview.

Maybe, he's a self-made internet millionaire, he doesn't need to interact with other folks face-to-face, and he's free to adorn his flesh however he damn well pleases. Perhaps he's got a zombie on his skin as he's actually a shy guy, and the zombie is like a personal "Beware of Dog" sign that accompanies him wherever he goes. No one dares mess with a man with a zombie on his arm. Perhaps it was for a girl. Guys do stupid stuff for women. Perhaps... I don't know.

I just want to know this dude's deal.

And, looking at that tattoo from a different angle, if he's showing the world a ravenous, undead beastie, what tattoos is he hiding? Woman tied to train tracks? The KKK demolishing the Lincoln Memorial? Hitler lighting an orphanage on fire with Pol Pot and Genghis Khan? Dickwolves? I don't get it, and I'm not going to summon any answers here as I'm not about to ask the dude how he came to have a zombie foaming, fuming out of his arm.

You know what, though, the tattoo could actually be Toxie. Maybe the guy's just the world's biggest Toxic Avenger fan. Of course, if true, that begs a whole series of other questions.

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