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  • Writer's picturefmblum

A Cool Tattoo Or The Life Of Grandmas

Updated: Jan 2, 2021

So what is more important to you? Getting a cool Covid-19 tattoo or protecting the health of your or someone else's grandmother. Now tattoos can be great and very personal expressions of who you are or want to be. They are human billboards and examples of free speech. They can be a way of people expressing the grief experienced in this pandemic or the fortitude needed to move forward.

But they are not essential for our life. It is not hard to think of things that are more essential. Like let’s say, the health of those who will die or become very ill if they are infected with the Covid-19 virus. Georgia, Brian Kemp, has an opposite opinion.To the governor cool tattoos are more important. What other reasons can there be for him allowing tattoo parlors to open in the midst of a pandemic. It can't be because he is a stable genius like our lysol swilling President. After all, it took Governor Tattoo until April to figure out that even people who don't have symptoms could transmit the virus and issue the SIP order. Everyone else knew it more than a month earlier. Nor can it me that Georgia has seen a downward trajectory in new cases or percentage of positive tests for 14 days, as outlined in the White House Guidlines. Even our Dear Leader knew enough to understand that Governor Tattoo made a mistake.

While Governor Tattoo's decision was just wrong for the obvious reason that the ability to get a tattoo is obviously does not have a significant societal benefit, it is also dangerous because it distracts from a legitimate debate as to what should be our national priorities. Is it worth the risk of infecting vulnerable populations, like my Grandma, to allow someone to get a tattoo? I feel comfortable saying that my Grandma Rose would say that there are things that are more important than increasing her risk of getting Covid-19. Like the health of her children or grandchildren or the political freedoms which we take for granted.

Grandma was a tough lady. At the turn of the last century She walked with her mother and sister from Lithuania to Amsterdam to escape the pogroms. She raised two daughters by herself during the depression. Grandma Rose understood that there was risk in all that we do and that you had to move forward regardless.

Grandma Rose

Everything we do involves some risk. Even getting up in the morning and going to the bathroom is risky. The bathroom is where most accidents occur. Driving electric cars involve risks to the environment since the manufacturer and disposal of the batteries harm the environment. Life is about balancing risk and so is the decision as to what community behaviors will be allowed in the face of a pandemic that has caused the deaths of over 50,000 Americans.

For me, an article by an Arizona doctor brought this issue to a head. Dr. Jennifer Fontius, wrote an open letter to the Arizona governor questioning his SIP order. Whether you agree with her or not, is not an illegitimate question. The question that she raises involves multiple issues which deserve a frank and open discussion. For instance, she tells the Governor that "You have restricted dentists and periodontists to treat only emergent cases, when in fact there is a proven correlation between oral health and cardiovascular disease." Dr. Fontius raises a legitimate point.

It is impossible to have a dental exam and stay six feet away from the dentist. So there may be a good reason for limiting density for the short term of the emergency. But even Governor Tattoo cannot believe that a tattoo artist can remain six feet away from his client. Moreover, considering the lack of joy inherent in any visit to the dentist, it is hard to fathom a rush of patients breaking down the door to get a frivolous teeth cleaning or gum scraping.

When society makes the choices of what risks are acceptable and what are not, it is proper to evaluate the relative benefits between density and tattoos. Now I have to admit that this is a false and foolish comparison. But it does point out the danger of the idiocy inherent in Governor Tattoo's order. He has forced us to argue the relative societal importance of a tattoo parlor instead of focusing on the important issues at hand. These include the disparate economic impact that the SIP order has on different parts of the country, what services are essential; whether adequate testing is a prerequisite to opening up the economy; or how do we prevent a resurgence in the fall.

To survive the pandemic and to thrive in the aftermath we need to define the economic, societal and political issues that the nation needs to confront. But to make the discussion meaningful we need to weed through the garbage that is a distraction. There can be no logical reason for Governor Tattoo to allow Georgians the opportunity to get a tattoo in the middle of a pandemic. No matter how beautiful or expressive the tattoo might be.

No matter how many tattoos are engraved on human flesh it is not worth the life of one grandma. Allowing other types of business to reopen may present tougher choices. This one just isn't one of them.

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