I love being privy to dead peoples tattoos. It's the best Jerry, the best!
I often wonder why Mrs blah had an eagle on her arm, and why Mr blah had that aeroplane on his back. And why did another dead guy ink a mushroom on his penis shaft? No really, why?
Celtic arm bands, tramp stamps and butterflys galore, I see them all and wash them tenderly. It's like I get a sneak peek into their personality which would otherwise have been missed. If nothing else, I can see that they at one time or other felt strongly enough about something that they got it etched into their skin...or at least, as in my case with tattoos, I appreciate art and want to draw on my body! You could die tomorrow, or could live until 100 and use the pictures as a form of self-identification and as memory reminder when dementia sets in.
I respect the war tatts that I see. I trace my fingers over them and feel the scarring. Men in their late 80's, with wobbly fat grey scribbles dancing over their wrists and biceps. You can pick up faint outlines and shapes, sometimes a map of a country or an Australian symbol. Often they might list in unevenly spaced scrawl the locations and wars that the men faught in. I like that. They were once boys, needing to express themselves in whatever way they could. It makes me feel like I am their peer in that moment, because what they must have felt and how much I would have agreed with them, egging them on in the tattooists chair, is and was so emotionally charged. I don't support countries going to war but hey, lest we forget....