GUEST COLUMN: Bad choices
Tuesday, 05 February 2013 by Mark Magnan
I was talking with someone the other day and the subject of poor choices came up, it started with a discussion about tattoos. I have not ever been under the needle, even though I was in the military I remained tattoo free. The discussion started when he made a remark about regretting a tattoo that he got some years ago. Because of the permanent nature of the tattoo in question he had to get another tattoo to cover this one. The new one does indeed "remove" the old tattoo from view, and is a bit more appealing. But it seemed like a cycle that started because of a bad choice. My friend made the comment that most tattoos seem like a good idea at the time. Often the thought process behind a tattoo is foggy due to other circumstances. It would seem common knowledge that you don't want to tattoo someone's name on your body, especially if you do not have a firm commitment to that person for life. Also certain images might seem like a good idea at the time, but could be hard to explain to a child some years from now.
Seeing how boring my life must be, not having ever mustered the nerve to get a tattoo, I thought about some other things I have done in my life that just didn't make sense. Several areas came to mind. Music for one, there are songs that I have liked from my past that I don't make point to talk about, and actually might have been a bit embarrassed at the time. But musical taste has always been a subject of generational controversy. My parents didn't like my music, just as their parents didn't like the newer music, and so on. I read, in music history, that when the waltz came out it was terribly upsetting to the older generation, both the music and the new dance associated with it were thought to be very improper. Of course that has been eclipsed many times over with new music and new dance moves.
Clothing and style is another area of trends and often ridiculous decisions. All we need to do is look around at some of the available styles to get a good idea of foolish choices. When I was young boots and jeans were popular. We used to buy our jeans extra long and let the ground even out the length. Also boots with colored shafts, or uppers, were popular. We would tuck half of the pants leg into the boot so one might notice the fancy colors and stitching of our boots. Now this wasn't a bad idea, because a nice pair of boots can have some great designs and colors that no one would see unless they were around when you kicked your boots off.
Other silly style choices were the western shirts with the quilted yokes. Colorful? Yes. Stylish? Not really. Also, satin shirts in Texas are not a fantastic idea, especially in the summer. I once bought a blue cowboy hat, it didn't take long to realize that my love for the color blue and accepted style options didn't meet in the area of cowboy hats.
For all the style mishaps of my youth, it seemed like we still had function to our clothes. There has been an image floating around the internet for a couple of years, a young man is at a ballgame, he is wearing a visor, but it is backwards on his head, and he is shielding his eyes from the sun. He has given in to style over common sense and function. Of course it is attributed to an Aggie fan, accurate or not, this is something that many young people do these days. The positive side of these style issues is that wearing idiotic clothes or styles is not a permanent issue. You may have to explain a photo of yourself in a few years and even wonder why you dressed that way, but you won't have an embarrassing, fading image on your body of something that reminds you of a night when all of your faculties were not functioning. Life has a lot of choices, some last a long time, others are short term. Not giving in to a lasting impression on my skin seems like a good choice now. But over the next couple of generations there will be a lot of grandparents trying to explain those images on their bodies, and thinking about that day that it seemed like such a good idea.