Back in the day, bikers, sailors, and convicts used to have tattoos. This was pretty sweet because tattoos were like a big neon sign that told you where to buy drugs. Now, every dumbass hipster has knuckle tattoos and anchors etched on nonexistent biceps and the only thing you can learn is where to see their shitty indie band.

Way back in the day, one of my fellow bloggers said, “Getting a tattoo isn’t edgy. Having a fit body in a country where 66 percent of people are overweight or obese is now an act of rebellion.”

Even though I’m kind of a poser and only have one Hello Kitty tattoo on my forehead, I absolutely love talking to tattoo artists. I get to ask them one of my favorite questions:

“What’s the worst tattoo you’ve ever given someone?”

Turns out a lot of artists will subtly try to dissuade potential clients from getting poorly-conceptualized or outright stupid tattoos. For instance, one of my tattoo artist acquaintances was commissioned to create a tribal armband with a Denver Broncos helmet that his son had drawn on a bar napkin. My buddy tried to worm his way out of creating bad art by jacking up the price to astronomical rates. “I’ll do it for $800, but with the ink you want, it’s going to run you $1,200.”

Unfortunately any guy who’s stupid enough to ask for a tribal Broncos tattoo is also stupid enough to cough up the cash. He’s now over a grand poorer and sporting the World’s Shittiest Broncos Tattoo.

Back when I lived in Portland, I met a local tattoo artist and asked him, “What’s the ugliest, worst tattoo you’ve ever done?”

He thought for a while. “Man, people want some fuckin’ awful tattoos, but this shit was so bad I wouldn’t even take a picture of it.” If you couldn’t tell, he’s a rather crass gentleman. “The other day, this lesbian came in. I’m talking one of those mean-assed, spiky-haired, softball-playing, man-hatin’ bitches that was born wearing a pair of combat boots. She tells me she wants a tattoo on her inner thigh, and I’ll tell you what, this bitch hadn’t shaved her legs since the fuckin’ Reagan administration.

“She makes me draw out this gigantic, nasty, fuckin’ uncircumcised dick. I mean wrinkly nut sack, veins all over, the works. I spend two hours tattooing this gross fuckin’ dick on the inside of this chick’s thigh, and when I get done, I ask her what she thinks. She takes a look in the mirror and tells me, ‘You fucked up. I wanted it bigger.’

“I look at her and tell her, ‘Shit, now you really know what it’s like to be a man.’ Don’t think she was happy with that shit. Anyway, worst tattoo I ever done.”

[Note: Later on, I came across a “penis on the leg” tattoo on the Internet. I don’t think it’s the same person (although the hairy legs fit the bill), so that means at least two people have the same terrible concept.]


This is an excerpt from Matt Lawrence’s book, The Chronicles of Bronan the Barbarian: A Humor Compendium 2010-2013. You can purchase the book from Terror House Press here.