My Family is My Strength, 2012
I don’t know if this guy’s a Promise Keeper, or not. Sure looks like it. He was, in any event, happy to talk to me about his tattoos and explain their history. The story’s pretty much what you would expect it to be. He loves his family. They’re everything to him. He has a stomach big enough to tell everyone how he feels.
This man and his family were visiting Virginia Beach last week from “near Hot Springs, Arkansas.” It seemed important to him that I understand that his family is from “near” Hot Spring, not in Hot Springs. Maybe he figures his hometown is just too small for me to have heard of. Or perhaps he doesn’t like to be associated too specifically with Hot Springs, the boyhood home of Bill Clinton.
What I do know is that the toddler portrayed in ink over the man’s heart is now fourteen, but could pass for twenty-two. How do I know that? Because the boy was standing nearby and told me, without an hint of irony, “Mister, that ain’t what I look like anymore. I’m fourteen. People confuse me for twenty-two all the time.” He said all this in a soft, husky voice reminiscent of no one so much as Bill Clinton.
One thing I can say about people from near Hot Springs: They don’t take the obvious for granted.