Breathe breath

1) If you need a tattoo to remind you to breathe, you probably ought to have some kind of permanently in-place guardian. Because usually, you know, breathing is part of your autonomic nervous system. Don’t get me wrong; I am not an “ableist”. I have nothing against people who need tubes to breathe because their autonomic nervous systems don’t work. But a tattoo that says “breathe”?

What, are you sitting on the chesterfield, watching that popular television sitcom, when suddenly, your eyes bug out and you start clutching at your throat, then glance at your wrist, read “breathe”, then gasp and nod and sigh in relief? I WANT TO SEE THIS HAPPEN.

2) If you have a “breath” tattoo, this is a lesser, but no less troubling, issue. You could be a great fan of The Fifth Element, which is a good thing, because that is one of the seven best movies ever made. And you could be making reference to the scene where they have all four stones in place, and David the novitiate is charged with activating the “wind” stone, and he can’t think of anything, so he says something about how they’ve failed and he sighs heavily across the stone, and it begins to open. So you might just be a really big fan of breath.

I suspect, however, because I’m a bit of a jerkwad, that you don’t actually know that “breathe” and “breath” are two different words.

“Breathe” is a verb. It is the act of taking air into and expelling air from the lungs. Or across the gills. Or whatever it is that your respiratory system does in order to facilitate the exchange of essential gases.

“Breath” is a noun. It is the actual air inhaled or expelled from the lungs. Or gills. Or whatever. I don’t know what gill breath is. Probably just molecular oxygen. Or some other element that your species requires.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and just make a blanket statement. I don’t often make blanket statements, but I’ll make an exception today. I’m just going to go ahead and say it’s just kind of dumb to get a tattoo that says *either* “breathe” (verb) or “breath” (noun). Far be it from me to be critical of fashion in any way (I have very little fashion sense).

I mean, I’m all in favour of getting a tattoo that points to the best vein for IVs (because I have bruises all over my arms from nurses trying to find veins to use). Or maybe a tattoo that says “wipe” or “front to back” or whatever, because that’s something that’s NOT part of your autonomic nervous system. Or possibly “wash with water AND soap”. In fact, I would be very supportive of tattoos that say “remember ‘please’ and ‘thank you'” and “chew with mouth closed” and “call Mum” and “laundry Tuesday” and “condoms are better than pulling out” and “the clitoris is very important; it’s the little nubbly bit”.

So unless you also have tattoos that say “beat” and “filter” and “sweat”, I don’t see the point.

Seriously consider that clitoris tattoo. That’s important stuff, there.

cenobyte
cenobyte is a writer, editor, blogger, and super genius from Saskatchewan, Canada.
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