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Bob Mann: 51 years old
Ink, Tattoos’, Art, Jewelry, call it what you will. It is a culture not a fad and definitely here to stay. When I see old men from the 40’s, who served in the military (our founding fathers) I tease that they started this culture.
I still remember the first time I saw a tattoo up close. I was eight years old riding in the back seat of a 68’ GTO coming back from the lake, my cousin Brad was driving, his hot blonde girl friend in the passenger seat. He smoked the tires reached his right arm to her leg and had a Tiger tattoo on his forearm. That was it for me, I was hooked.
Most of my tattoos’, designs, represent someone from my family who has affected my life. First let me start with my family reunion. Each knuckle on my right hand has the symbol of the following superhero, Batman, Superman, Spiderman, and Ironman; my left hand spells out my last name Mann – hence the family reunion.
Every piece of art on my body has meaning; I will tell you about just a choice few that have the most meaning to me.
The dragon on my arm represents my Grandfather Eugene Jephia Holdman, he worked in the lead mines and was the town Mortician and was nicknamed “Digger”. The dragon is old and wise, like my Grandfather, his middle name is on the tombstone and he wears the “All Seeing” eye bracelet as I do on my left wrist. This represents the passing of knowledge from one generation to the next.
The two Gargoyles on my arm are for two of my uncles. One was as big as a house Donald Holdman, powerful, strong, and loving. The other Larry Holdman served three tours in Vietnam. The large gorilla on my forearm is for my father Ronald August Mann, a great man, my hero. He was a Baptist Pastor, he is holding a pair of glasses in his hands, a bible sitting next to him on the rocks with the saying “A Son Never Forgets”. These words are a never ending honorarium to his parting words to me after every visit “Never forget I love you”. God I miss that Man.
The Bulldog on my bicep is for my cousin Steven Glen Martin, killed in Iraq, the bulldog has a top hat with stars and bars, a spiked collar, cigar in his mouth and his dog tags. Rest in Peace Cuz! The tiger is for my brother Ron, he served in the Air Force doing his tour in Asia, hence the tiger. The dragon on my forearm is for when I received my black belt in Hop Kido.
My chest has a mermaid and Poseidon’s sea creature, a fun piece my awesome tattoo artist Blake and I came up with; take a close look at those two. Then on my rib cage there is the “Fighting Irish” throwing knuckles, this is for my Dad and his favorite team Notre Dame – he wears a firefighter helmet for my son and paramedic boots for me.
My back has two tattoos. The Angel in a green dress holding cowboy boots walking into the clouds in the shape of horses head, she was my young neighbor Kaliey, killed in a car wreck. The large dragon on my back is me; the beast born in a time where I feel I do not belong for a reason I didn’t know until meeting my precious Angel Shannon. Now I feel like I belong, found my purpose – with her, living, loving, spreading joy, teaching the young, love/respecting the elderly. On our first date we took a picture of us, later when I looked at it, the lighting in the room eliminated a halo over her head – she looked like an Angel, my Angel sent to me. She sits on my left shoulder reminding me that I am loved, wanted, she makes me want to be a better man.