It's one thing to make a spelling or punctuation error when icing a message on a birthday cake
—you can easily dispose of such mistakes. But when it comes to getting a tattoo, think before you ink. It's difficult to render a correction.
These typos are the responsibility of the tattoo artist, not the human canvases, but if you choose to print words on your body, you might want to hand the artist a neatly printed transcription, monitor the inscription of the tracing draft, and revise it as necessary.
My daughter, normally the sensible sort—except, of course, for the whole tattoo thing—was prevented from possible inclusion in this hall of shame when her best friend, fortunately in attendance during the inking procedure, pointed out the omission of a letter in a word the artist preliminarily inscribed on her arm with a pen.
The Internet abounds with images of tattoo tragedies, and it was difficult to pare the possibilities to a manageable number for this post. But here, in order of egregiousness, are the five most boneheaded blunders:
No, you're not. Oh, it's not a misspelling of handsome? It's supposed to be awesome? No, you're not.
But you would be if you returned to the tattoo artist and—free of charge, of course—had a red caret and a matching "e" inscribed.
What an honor it must have been for the person bearing this tattoo to be a bearer of the Oylmpic torch, though that's not as memorable as being a torchbearer for the Olympics.
As is probably true in many such cases, she reportedly didn't know about the error until someone pointed it out. Even then, she turned down the tattoo artist's offer to correct it. She says it's unique like she is. Yes, that's one word for it.
The biblical verse, as usually translated into English, is, "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die." The statement elegantly terminates with the key word. This fellow's artistic license in altering the wording and word order is excusable, but the misspelling of fore—not likely a pun on forearm—is not.
I would have recommended the standard version, broken after drink, but "broken after drink" is probably the reason for the mistake in the first place.
This isn't the only tragedy typo one can find (and it might surprise you how many ways tattoo artists can render regret/regrets), but it's the most prominent—and therefore the most tragic.
This misbegotten masterpiece wins the prize for sheer spectacle and lasting significance.
My surmise is that this fellow has a spot in his heart for his alma mater. Unfortunately, there's no Clemons University—it's Clemson.
I hope he got his money back. That looks like a four-figure flub.
Images via YTMND.com, BBC.com, HuffingtonPost.com, and EnglishFailBlog.org.
A version of this article first appeared on DailyWritingTips.com.