Monday, July 27, 2009


At Albina Press on Hawthorne, I noticed a guy with two heads tattooed on his calf. They looked like drawings of busts. I had to ask him about them: "Can I ask you who the two guys on your leg are?"

He said, "Actually, there are four." He showed me the inside of the same leg. Sure enough, another two guys' heads. "They're four great Russian writers." He identified each one for me when I didn't go away.

I remember he had Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, and I forget who one of them was--maybe Turgenev?--and then he had Gogol, which I thought was interesting. I don't think of him as one of the Mount Rushmore of great Russian writers. I don't know who I'd exchange Gogol for--but thinking about it later, I was surprised he didn't include Chekov. And then there's Babel, Akhmatova, Nabokov, Gorky, so many more I know nothing about.

Rachel and I spent the rest of the day thinking of various groups of four people one could have tattooed on one's leg. None of them were really anything I could live with, but then I'm not much for tattoos. Plus you'd have to explain it all the damn time. I already have one of those. Curious to hear other people's ideas though. Also, if you're suggesting the Beatles or some other group of four that evolved, I'm curious what era of the Beatles you'd get tattooed.

1 comment:

Rachel said...

I'd get my four favorite composers named Steve: Stephen Sondheim, Stephin Merritt, Steve Reich, and Stephen Schwartz.