Years ago when traveling in Thailand, I came upon an American guy who had just got a new tattoo of which he was very proud. He was one of those white-boy dreadlocked hippie travelers who had recently discovered Buddhism and found it an appealing belief system whose humanism contrasted nicely with what he saw as the raw and mean culture of selfishness of his own country. The tattoo, he told me, said something like peace and love. Sadly, after he left, one of the Thai folks at the bungalow where I was staying explained to me that the tattoo actually said chicken fried rice or some such thing. I laughed a hearty laugh at the travelers expense. There was a very amusing irony there, I thought.
Well, seems he was not alone, and other folks like this lost soul have now been heading to tattoo removal parlors en masse to get rid of tats they once deemed cool, but now find awful little mementos of their reckless youth. This story over at Fox News examines the trend and cites some other fine examples of tats gone awry, including some whereby folks who thought they’d gotten tattoos for Chinese characters for attractive concepts like “power” and “love” discovered they actually read “General Tso’s Chicken special” or “gullible white boy.” That is just too damn funny. The article goes on the describe other Chinese tats where the symbols were upside down or one he thought said “spirit” actually said “gas”. Poor fellow.