I try really, really hard to respect everyone’s rights to be as stupid as they want to with how they spend their money and how they express themselves, and not be judgmental. I really do. After all, I’m a really big Freedom of Speech guy. But sometimes, restraining the urge to not lash out at willfully-advertised stupidity becomes physically painful for me. The saga of Romney Tattoo Face Guy is one such example.
For the uninitiated, one Eric Hartsburg of Michigan City, Indiana, was paid $15,000 by a bidder on eBay to have a Mitt Romney U.S. presidential election campaign logo tattooed on the right side of his face. Perhaps realizing how ridiculous he looks with this thing stamped upside his head in this post-election scenario, Hartsburg now plans to have the tattoo removed.
This story illustrates so much stupidity, I know not where to begin. So we’ll start with one grinding truth about election merchandise: There’s no shelf life to it. It becomes valueless instantly after Election Day. And there’s a reason for that. It’s because you look like a douchebag if you’re that guy who’s drinking out of a coffee mug with a Dole/Kemp ’96 logo on it well into the twenty-oughts. You look dumb even if you’re wearing a Kerry/Edwards ’04 shirt while doing yard work. When you wear that stuff, especially if it’s for a losing candidate, you just look like somebody who can’t move on in life. Most people realize that, and that’s why this stuff ends up in the trash.
So, old election merchandise looks douchey. Douchy? Douchelike . . . Eah, fuck it! It looks dumb! And this guy’s got it tattooed on the side of his face. That brings us to the subject of tattoos. Tattoos are expensive to get, and even more expensive to get rid of. After some half-assed research, we have concluded that Hartsburg’s tattoo, which covers an area of 5 inches by 2 inches and involves only two colors, tends to cost about $200 to have done. Granted, that’s not that much of a hit when you’re getting paid $15,000 to get the thing done; but removal is a whole other bundle of laundry. Laser tattoo removal usually requires at least four sessions with a specialist, at a rate of $200 to $500 per session. So four such sessions at $200 comes to $800, and that’s for starters. This tattoo could require more visits. The sessions may cost more, considering the location. Six sessions at a median price of $350 comes to $2,100. Hartsburg, in this completely hypothetical scenario, is still ahead $12,700, but he’s still going to be the guy at wherever he works who was enough of a whore to get an electioneering logo stamped into the side of his head. That twelve-seven had better be worth it.
Here’s my advice to Mr. Hartsburg: Use your cranium for something more than a billboard. The next time you feel like supporting a presidential candidate, save yourself the pain and humiliation, and get a T-shirt like everybody else. Granted, it’s a cliche gesture, but a T-shirt is a lot easier to throw in the trash than a tattoo.
Hang on, though. There’s more patented stupidity in this story, and it begs the question: Who pays someone $15,000 to tattoo his face? In a country full of homeless war veterans, orphans, dying kids, and innocent victims of all kinds, this eBay bidder decides he has $15,000 to apply toward making a difference, and it sure as all hell doesn’t involve paying higher taxes. Nah. Forget that noise! And forget the Red Cross. Forget Save the Children or the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Never mind, perhaps, even a direct donation into the Romney Campaign, or the Republican National Committee. No. A tattoo. That’s what it’s got to be. That’s fifteen grand well spent. Right?
As far as I’m concerned, this news item should be a discount coupon applied toward getting a dignified headstone for this country when it finally does disappear down the tubes.