My friend Sheri called me to tell me that her fiancé Tom had died unexpectedly earlier that day, the victim of an aneurysm. He was only 42.
People die every day in America, in the world. Young, old, healthy, sick. Death is a fact of life. Here at Tattoosday, we acknowledge that. Memorial tattoos abound.
But Tom was not just anyone. He was my friend, and he was with me from the beginning of this venture, one of Tattoosday's earliest fans and supporters. Not only did he offer up his own ink (reposted below), but he was always on the lookout for me, and saw most of the photos before they made it to the blogosphere. We'd exchange messages and updates over the weekends, and he always anticipated my return from lunch on weekdays, to see if I had spotted any awesome ink.
He knew how much I was yearning for a better camera, and he ended up getting me a new one, with Sheri, for my birthday.
And if we weren't talking ink, we were talking music, both of us big fans of Iron Maiden, Guns N' Roses, AC/DC, and Metallica.
Below is the post I ran of his tattoo, a grim reaper from his metalhead days. It's not spectacular work, but it graced his skin, and made him one of the inked nation.
Tattoos I Know: The Grim Reaper (originally posted September 11, 2007)I have been posting less, of late, but Tom's spirit will live on through Tattoosday. For he is the audience I envision while writing. I know he would tell me not to mourn, but to keep on doing what I love, blogging ink, meeting new people, and showcasing their body art for all to enjoy.
This is the sole tattoo of my friend and co-worker, Tom Wacker.
Tom designed and drew the art upon which this tattoo was based.
The Reaper is posed on Tom's biceps/deltoid and has resided there since 1984, when its host was a young lad of eighteen.
This is Tom's only tattoo and he has no plans to get more. He is proud of the fact that, because he designed it and because he then tore up the original design, it is a one-of-a-kind piece. He said that it was very painful because of the amount of black ink that went into it.
The tattoo was inked by Dean at Lola's Tattoos, then in Cliffside Park, but now in Bogota, New Jersey. Tom got this tattoo "because it was cool," although the tattooer tried to convince him not to get it because it was "too mean" for him. Twenty-three years later, Tom says he has no regrets about his ink.
I'll miss you, Tom. This blog's for you, too, wherever you are.