Posted by: nickgerlich | July 1, 2008


I must be getting old. The harvest has begun, and it seems like only a few years have passed since I was busy sowing seeds.

I remember when I was young. My brother and I would always harangue our parents until they tuned in WLS on the car radio. WLS was then Chicago’s premier Top 40 radio station, and their music offended our parents to no end. “Can you turn it up a bit?” we nagged.

During last week’s road trip, the seeds bore fruit as our daughters implored us to play Jordyn Sparks over and over again. I heard Tattoo more times than I care to remember. Here’s a little tip, Jordyn: Use a real drummer next time, not some lame drum machine. Back in my day, artists used humans, not machines.

“Dad, can you turn it up a bit?”

I now know what my parents went through. They deserve a medal, for they weathered a continuous insult to their musical sensibilities. It’s not that I dislike modern music, for I actually prefer more 21C material than the tunes with which I grew up. There’s just something about Jordyn Sparks that rubs me raw, and makes me want to drive faster just to get the trip over with.

TattooToday we see yet another form of this taking place, that being the prevalence of tattoos and body piercing. Not that these are anything new, mind you. It’s just that it seems like I am quickly headed into minority status with my ink-free body. If the folks I saw last week baring it all (well, mostly) at Schlitterbahn are any indication, I should have invested in the tattoo industry.

And I don’t mean just subtle little tattoos on the upper arm, or even the ankle wraps or the so-called “tramp stamp” in the small of the back. No, I’m talking about massive pieces of artwork that beg people to turn and gawk. Like I did.

Which is probably the intented reaction anyway.

I have read numerous times that today’s youthful obsession with getting inked is really a form of rebellion. And that’s OK, because previous generations were no different. I just wonder, though, if harvest time will come back to haunt them.

You see, corporations are still a tad stodgy. And even though a person’s artistic masterpiece may be concealed across their shoulders or chest, anything that is visible is simply verboten.

I do not have a problem with tasteful tattoos. but you might be surprised to hear how others react. Not too long ago we had some new pics taken of students in the College of Business, photos that would be used in a variety of promotional ways. One shot showed some students. A young woman in this group had a visible ankle tattoo which showed through her stocking. Even though she was in business attire, the powers that be deemed this just a tad off-center.

So, Photoshop to the rescue.

I pride myself on being open to new ideas, new music (except Jordyn Sparks), and even the creativity of some tattoos. But I have to wonder if a lot of people have been busy planting for an unexpected harvest. That harvest could come about in the form of being shunned by employers, as well as later regret. And never mind the irony of individual expression trying to mask mainstream conformity.

No, I think I will invest in the tattoo-removal industry. I predict legions of people seeking a magic eraser. The thought of this is music to my ears, and it’s a tune I can easily listen to.

Can you turn it up a bit?

Dr “And It Has A Real Drummer” Gerlich


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