While the Crone was catching up with friends in the UK, her beloved son managed to lose both his apartment and his job in Washington DC. He reported this to the Crone on the phone with an insouciance that would be incredible and shocking if it were not his M.O. He’s not a young man who worries too much about anything, particularly not the risk of giving the Crone a cardiac arrest. Imagine the heartfelt fear then when Hansel’s opening line last weekend was ” You are going to be mad with me. I have done something very stupid”. The Crone had just picked him up from the basketball court and immediately pulled the car to the curb. ” What?” she asked, fearing trouble with the police, news of a pregnancy, or details of a deadly disease. ” I got a tattoo” came the answer, and a flash of forearm. Then-quickly-
” But I was intoxicated at the time” The Crone did a doubletake–and not at the tattoo, before explaining that, while she is not crazy about permanent body markings, neither is she wildly supportive of illegal and dangerous drinking.
” But I had to be under the influence to face the needle” explained Hansel. Oh, of course–makes perfect sense now…
The Crone, during this exchange, noticed how Hansel always uses language more commonly found in police reports for describing his crimes and misdemeanours. “Intoxicated” and “Under the Influence”, never just plain drunk. It’s as though he is practising for a court appearance which, given his current choices, may be time well spent.
The conversation wore on along the lines you would expect and then the Crone said ” Well, it’s done now. You’d better let me see it”
Hansel held out his arm, suddenly sheepish. ” It’s meant to be my mother’s name” he said” but the dude spelt it wrong” . No kidding. Hansel’s mother was called Debra but the legend on his arm, etched from wrist to elbow, reads Debar. The folly of drink, dyslexia and indelible ink.
“Well, you’d better go back to the tattoo parlor–sober–and get them to fix it” said the Crone. It was now time for Hansel to do a double take ” Nah.” he said ” I am done with needles for a while” Let’s hope he means it and, while he’s cleaning up his act , the Crone strongly suggests he steer clear of the bottle too.