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I’ve never been one to take personal-aesthetic risks. I’ve had variations of the same haircut since I was 20, and before that had the same third season of Friends-inspired up-in-the-front ‘do since 1996. The only time I ever tried something relatively extreme was a horrible failure. When I was 18, I drove my brother to get his eyebrow pierced and he coerced me into getting a piercing too. I did my ear cartilage. There was so much bleeding I almost passed out. When it finally healed, it lasted three months before I drunkenly fell down some stairs at a bar in Toronto, not realizing the damage that was done until the cab driver told me to get out of the cab because there was blood coming from my head. When I went to feel for the earring, it was gone.

Anyway, I did vow that if I ever got my Master’s degree, I’d get a tattoo. Though I haven’t actually finished, I felt like I was close enough and thought I should probably ride the wave of likely naive fearlessness this calm before the storm of post-education has given me.

I’m deaf in one ear. Have been since I was 4, and though a clever and hidden idea was to get the words “out of order” on the back of my deaf ear. After months of all talk, I finally went yesterday, with a smaller (and thus less painful) word – casse – which means “broken” in French. A tribute to my disability and to my two years in Montreal.

I took two tylenols and a shot of my roommate’s bourbon before I went, even though you’re not supposed to (thins the blood), and really didn’t need it. I’ve felt more pain biting my lip, in all honesty. Mind you, it was five letters on a part of your body thats apparently quite tattoo-friendly. My friend Mark taped the whole experience, and I’m posting here in lieu of proper words to describe the “Old Salt” that marked me for life. It gets mildly gross towards the end.

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