Chuck is a nice guy. That's what I surmised as he was taking an ink-plastered needle and penetrating to my third layer of skin for about 45 minutes recently. He told me that's what a tattoo gun does. And I believe him, since my arm felt like he was taking a hot piece of glass and quickly, delicately carving up my right arm.
I think that's the best way to describe what it feels like to get a tattoo. It's not an "ouch" pain. It's more of a slow, steady pain. And then there's the accompanying noise: the eerie sound of the gun as it buzzes -- something like a cross between a beard trimmer and a dentist's drill. Chuck said I didn't even flinch despite the pain and the noise. I think my hand cramped up halfway in between from clenching it so hard. You can see some video of that courtesy of the SE Cupp show:
In two paragraphs, that's what it's like to get a tattoo. I have a feeling it's going to take a lot longer for me to explain the "why." But trust me, that's not as long as it took for me to explain the same thing to my wife.
It went something like this (I've taken some slight editorial liberties):
Me: Hey, guess what.
Wife: You got a raise.
Me: No, but I do have some good news. Remember how you've been wanting me to get another tattoo?
Me: Well, I think I'm going to finally get one. S.E. Cupp's producer sent me an e-mail today saying they're headed to the NYC tattoo convention and they're looking to film someone getting a tattoo. He was wondering if I wanted to be that person.
Wife: Wow, cool.
Me: But there's only one small thing.
Wife: Ummm, okay. You're scaring me. What's that.
Me: Well, he kinda jokingly said it would be fun for me to get a Blaze flame on my arm. And I told him that would actually be kinda cool. So I think I'm going to do that.
Wife: Are you serious? You're an idiot.
If I'm honest, the "idiot" label is something others stuck on me when I bounced the idea off of them. And I can't say I didn't start questioning myself at one point. But then I explained to my wife, and others, why exactly I would permanently brand myself with the logo of a place I've only been at for a year. I stuck to my guns, which I'm going to admit is a shameless plug for my massive, taut biceps (a little much?)
Readers who are familiar with The Blaze probably know that the name finds its genesis in, well, Genesis. "The Blaze" refers to the burning bush in the story of Moses. While kicking it with some sheep one day, Moses happened to stumble across a blazing piece of shrubbery that was burning, but not going up in flames. It was on fire, but it wasn't being consumed. That little pile of flames just happened to be God.
Let's pause. If you think you can predict the end of this post by saying The Blaze is actually a veiled reference to it and its employees being divine, you're wrong. Sorry. No gotcha moment there. While it would be so awesome sometimes to be God, I am not. Now back to the post.
What's interesting about the blaze (lower case) in the Moses story, is that God chose the image of fire to represent him. People of faith believe that God represents truth -- he knows all, and what he says goes. From that understanding was born the idea that the truth is likewise an all-consuming fire that burns away what's not true, and leaves only what is.
That, folks, is why we are called The Blaze.
Now, what you must understand about me is that I am a person of faith. I believe in God. The God. My God. So when I was first interviewing for this job and heard that the name of this new wild and wacky, wonky and whimsical site was going to be called The Blaze, and that it had its origins in God, truth, and the story of Moses, I was fascinated. It resonated with me.
It resonated with me for those reasons, for sure. But it also resonated with me for other reasons. First, people familiar with the old testament know the story of Moses also features another prominent blaze. While leading the Israelites out of Egypt, God used a pillar of cloud during the day to lead the way. But at night, he sent a pillar of fire down from Heaven to light the path. I'd like to think that truth, like a pillar of fire, leads the way.
And second, the story of Moses is fascinating when you consider Moses was a pretty rotten guy before he was given the job of freedom-fighter. After all, he did kill someone. Then he fled and hid. On top of that, when God appeared to him (via that bush), Moses didn't feel cut out for the job. And he had a problem: he couldn't talk real well. So he tried to punt. But despite his failings, God still gave him the task of being a leader. Pretty amazing when you think about it.
And I have.
Sometimes, I feel like Moses. Okay, no e-mails about me comparing myself to one of the of the great biblical leaders. I know I'm not Moses. But like him, and as many of my friends know, I'm not a perfect guy. I've failed friends. And I'll continue to do so. I'm not always the all-American husband either. And as even you readers know (and maybe this is worst of all), I even make typos. Gasp! So, it's humbling to get the honor and privilege to have a national platform like I do. Depending on what website you read, The Blaze has carved out a pretty substantial audience. And I get the opportunity to have your attention every day, bringing you stories that make you laugh, make you angry, and hopefully call you to action. But I don't always feel like I deserve such an opportunity.
Sometimes, I feel like Moses.
So when the suggestion was made that a flame be permanently inked onto my body, I knew I had to do it. Sure, in some ways it represents "The Blaze," but in many more ways it really represents what The Blaze stands for.
I eventually told my wife what I just told you. When I did, she helped me design the tattoo.
I've included a picture below. As you'll see, it's a word: veritas. In Latin, that means "truth." The first line of the "V" is a quill. The dot of the "i" is a flame. And as you've just read, the meaning behind it all is quite personal: