Adventures In Nomenclature

The omni-tattooted Travis Barker once said, “I tattooed my body so I couldn’t fall back on anything. I purposely did that so I couldn’t get a normal job and live a normal life. I did it so I had to play music.”

Along with the aging process, there’s a problem with this plan: What if Travis Barker couldn’t play music? (I’m not going to debate the merits of Barker’s percussion skills; the fact is Barker has made a career out of drumming.)

When people ask me what I do for a living, I have to say I’m a writer. I don’t do anything else. But I feel like I have all of the tattoos and none of the gold records. That noun implies something I’m not ready to back up. I’m a terrible copy editor and according to standardized testing, in the bottom 11 percent of the spelling population. And I want to define myself by the same noun as the Greats? Please.

There’s a ton of people who have no business following their dreams and would do better to call themselves by the second occupation after the slash. These people may be frauds, but at least they’re courageous ones. In a way, half of being an artist is calling yourself one. Unfortunately, the other half is even harder.