Dougie got a lion tattooed on his forearm, and I thought I would be super slick and get
a Chinese symbol on my right shoulder blade
strength and will or
And for all of two-ish years I thought I was the coolest guy in the world and then I realized that
Chinese symbol tattoos are like…
for white people like me and I pigeonholed myself into a stereotype which is the last thing I ever wanted to become but here I am
and my parents approved of it which sort of ruined the whole effect I was going for when I
went the rebellious route and
as I patched my relationship with my dad, this felt like something that I should have wanted, right?
Maybe I could tattoo two thumbs up under the tattoo, one from mom and one from
Maybe the Chinese symbol for a thumbs up, they have those, right?
and we repaired things and put the pieces back together and talked about things like friends and not like dad and high school son and one day I visited home and my dad had a Chinese symbol of his own on his arm
and we matched in the most strange and twisty way and
I wondered if Dougie’s dad had a tiger tattooed on his calf or something and I doubt it because
no dad does what my dad does, as I’ve come to learn and I don’t hate my Chinese symbol tattoo anymore because every time I start to regret it I remember that
my dad has one too
and maybe if you put our Chinese symbols together
you get the father-son relationship that only Chinese symbols know anything about.
Josh Sippie is the Director of Publishing Guidance at Gotham Writers. His writing can be found at McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, The Writer Magazine, Brevity, Hobart, and more. When not writing, he can be found wondering why he isn't writing.