Niagara Gazette


March 13, 2014

HAMILTON: Setting themselves up for failure?

Niagara Gazette — It was some time ago when the suburbanite Grand Island teenager became angry at me because I was staring at him as he entered the Tim Horton’s/Wendy’s Restaurant. 

The teen had been sitting there idly with a pair of obviously bored and docile friends. 

The boy's pals were pretty regular in appearance. The agitated boy who caught my eye had shocks of red, blue, green and yellow iridescent blotches of color dyed into his gelled and spiky hair. I had taken a few moments to stop and stare at his colorful array. 

When the teen caught me looking down upon his rainbow of colors, with a great deal of indignation, likely feeling empowered by the strength of his posse, he sneered at me and said: “Whadda you looking at?”

I’ll tell you how I answered in a moment but, in the meantime, I have to ask: “Do you know why we set ourselves up for failure?”

I once encountered a young man at Frankie’s Doughnuts on Portage Road who had tattoos on his dark forearms. I reminded him that many employers would not hire him because of his so-called body art.  He said he knew that because he had to keep his sleeves rolled down when he ‘once’ worked at the hospital. I had to wonder if he thought that his expensive tats were more important to him than his financial well-being.

And then there are people with all manner of body piercings and facial tattoos

I have seen both men and women, of all ages, who ranged from modest ear and nose piercings, to those with rather large rods of metal in their tongues, to those with piercing alongside their eyes and in their cheeks and all the way to those who put either numerous piercings in their ears and/or huge holes in their lobes. 

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