As viewed through the lens of cynicism.

Let me set the scene here.

I stand in a tattoo parlor. Go ahead gasp, but be forewarned, it gets worse. I was not there for the purpose of purchasing a tattoo, rather I was there to witness my father’s awkward meeting with the man who will be pounding a needle thousands of times into my dad’s arm.

My father, a fifty something doctor, had decided his life would not be complete without a tattoo to mark all his accomplishments (which are quite worthy I might add of celebration). So there I stand, scowling, as this heavily tattooed, pierced and questionably sober tattoo artist relates to my stodgy gentlemen of a father (complete with slacks, collared shirt and glasses) his vision. My dad nods along at the appropriate moments as I flip through a book of tattoo samples, impressed and disgusted with the frequency and variation of skulls. I never realized how many ways you could make a skull look that on fire and with blood dripping through its teeth.

Heavy metal or some other variance on the music that generally assaults your eardrums upon entering the august confines of the average American tattoo parlor pounds through the air. My scowl deepens as my dad is led away to be measured for his new “ink.”

Panic grips me. I’m left alone in this place. My mom had wandered off to investigate nearby shops. I seek comfort in the tried and true refuge of pretending to answer text messages (Little do they know I never receive any, so the joke is on them!).

After ten awkward minutes of searching for the meaning of life in my phone’s home screen my father finally reemerges from the depths of this place. A sigh of relief hisses between my clenched teeth. Freedom shines. I can leave this den of awkwardness.

The End of Part One

Stay tuned for the next thrilling installment of “Adventures in Christmas Shopping.”