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Joshua Mohr

The Illustrated Man: On SF's Tattoo Culture

Every picture tells a story, especially the ones etched on skin.

Wat’s that mean?” a series of nosy strangers have asked me over the years, pointing to the tattoo on my left forearm—eight Chinese characters surrounded by vibrant cherry blossoms.

“My wedding invitation,” I say. “It means, ‘The marriage of wind and water among ancient redwoods.’”

“How romantic!” They typically swoon a bit here, smiling at my dedication, wowed by my sense of monogamy. “How long have you been married?”

“I’m actually divorced.”

“Oh,” they say, righting themselves quickly. “I’m sorry. That’s the trouble with tattoos.”

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