Michaela. Michaela. Michaela!

Just when my shock-o-meter’s needle has been buried, something comes along to push it even farther beyond its detection screen.

You just returned from what I assumed would be a wholesome family vacation in Wisconsin. Then you show me your souvenir.

A bag of cheese curds? No.

A rubber tomahawk complete with synthetic feathers? No.

Geodes from Brazil? No.

None of the above. You come back from the land of jolly cheeseheads and endless supper clubs with…with…with…a tattoo!!!

And then you tell me that it’s not your first. I’m afraid to ask about the other two, but do tell!

Anyway, you proudly displayed tattoo number three. This one is on your right wrist and it’s reflects your affinity toward writing.

Right there on your wrist – straight from Wisconsin – is a set of quotation marks:

“   ”

Instead of being critical and judgmental here, I should be flattered. For you have decided to carry on your wrist for the remainder of your days a direct quote from me. The quotation marks on your wrist surround everything GOOD I have to say about tattoos.

(However, and I hate to admit this, you’re a gifted writer. And if this is what it takes, give me that shop’s phone number.)

I’m surprised you didn’t step out of a Wisconsin tattoo parlor with a string of walleye on the backside of one calf, a stein of beer behind the other, and the Packer emblem emblazoned on your forehead.

You tell me that your first tattoo is a cross and the second is a Hemingway quote.

I admire your convictions here. And I truly respect your bold decision to make these permanent statements about yourself. 

I’d do the same with my favorite scripture, but I have a few fears. 

For starters, I’m afraid the guy would misspell Ephesians. Or confuse it with Ecclesiastes. 

I’m also afraid that it will hurt…and cost a lot of money.

But seriously Michaela. A Hemingway quote here, a cross there, a set of empty quotation marks, when will it end? You are preparing for a career in journalism, yet you’re on track to driving another nail into the newspaper industry’s coffin. Let me explain…

Long, long ago, Sunday newspapers caused both anticipation and some consternation in my household.

After the main news section was tossed aside, my family members of your gender fought over the Sunday newspaper magazine section. Meanwhile, we guys fought over the sports section. And everybody fought over the comic section.

The comic section was also known as either the funnies or simply the comics. The funnies included funny funnies like Peanuts, Snuffy Smith, Beetle Bailey, Archie and Moon Mullins. The funnies also included some funnies which were not funny: Dick Tracy, Little Orphan Annie, Mary Worth, to name a few.

The big daily newspapers have a daily comic section. But on Sunday, the funnies are in full color!!!!

Sadly, the funnies no longer cultivate newspaper readers. You can get the same effect by looking up and down the arms of any given professional basketball player.

But, again, thanks for accurately quoting me. As for these tattoos, let’s make a deal.

First, become an accomplished, critically acclaimed writer. Then author a brief, profound, apropos passage of mutual agreement and I’ll get it tattooed on my arm.

But in return – and be sure to leave some space – you’ll have to get this: “I (HEART) my first publisher.”