For Christmas, my wife, Jenn, told me I could get another tattoo, my second. I have wanted another one for years. My first one was a "reset button," designed to look the the "fire" button on the old Atari 2600 joysticks. I got that one in 2003 or 2004 after my divorce to remind me that I am in charge of my life and my future, not my practice wife/mother of my first child.
I have wanted a second tattoo for years, and have kicked around the idea of a Wonderful Life-themed tattoo for a while. I thought about the drawing of George lassoing the moon, but among other reasons, I decided not to do that, because that seemed to be the go-to design. I wanted something unique. And I wanted to incorporate my children in some way. So I went back to the drawing board.
|The book where I found my inspiration|
And THEN I looked through the book It's a Wonderful Life: The Illustrated Holiday Classic by Paul Ruditis and illustrated by Sarah Conradsen, which I received as a Christmas gift from my parents. In it, I found two gorgeous illustrations of George Bailey praying on the bridge. I started playing with those ideas .... not suicide, but of praying and my children, and how would I incorporate them. And then I thought of the role bells play in the film.
I also wanted to incorporate my wife in the design, but I didn't want to include her name, because tattooing your wife's name on your body guarantees a divorce. That's just bad juju. Not gonna' do it. Some people suggested using her initials and putting "XXX Bridgeworks" (where XXX are her initials) on the bridge as a way to include her. But then I realized her birth flower was holly. So that was easy.
But since I wear glasses and George Bailey doesn't, I had my tattoo artist bury the face in his hands instead of showing the face. That way, it is unclear if it is me or George Bailey praying. I also added a square and compasses lapel pin to represent my involvement in the Masonic fraternity.
So, you can look at this tattoo as simply a scene from the film inspired by a book made for children, or you can look at it as symbolic of me, praying over my children, represented by the bells, bridging my past to their future.
Below is the process of the tattoo. It was completed in two sessions. Session 1 was Feb. 5, 2021, which was the anniversary of my parents' wedding, and my grandfather's death (neither of which happened this year). Session 2 happened June 1. I might need to get the white touched up at some point, but that will be after swim season is over.
|Last moment for bare arm|
|End of Day 1 progress Feb 5, 2021|
|Final tattoo, completed June 1, 2021|