The outpouring of donations and aid from the business community to the victims of Hurricane Katrina has been remarkable.

Both nationally and locally, it seems that just about everyone is stepping up to the plate to help. I’ve received dozens of faxes and e-mails from businesses small and large announcing their plans to contribute to the relief effort.

But one fax in particular truly caught my eye. It came from Atomic Tattoos and Body Piercing.

It seems that Florida-based Atomic and an alliance of tattoo studios nationwide will be donating all proceeds from tattoos and body piercing to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

For those of you not tapped into the tattooing community, Atomic is (at least according to the fax) Tampa Bay’s premier tattoo and piercing studio. The fax also said that Atomic exceeds industry standards in quality, cleanliness, safety, service, price and excellence. (And in this industry, cleanliness probably really is next to Godliness.)

Now becoming an illustrated man for a good cause doesn’t sound like a bad idea. But I’m really not sure how it would play here at the office or with the folks back home. OK, I do know how it would play here at the office.

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But since it’s been awhile since I’ve had a mythical conversation with my father, and since that might be a path of lesser resistance when it comes to marking or maiming my body for life, here goes.

ME: Dad, Atomic Tattoos and Body Piercing is donating all of its proceeds to the Red Cross to help the hurricane victims. So, I was thinking about permanently sporting the family crest. Can you send me a copy?

HIM: It does sound like a good cause. But you know, I’ve always been a bit of a Pepsodent man myself.

ME: No, no, I’m not talking about toothpaste. The family crest. You know, the coat of arms looking thing from the old country.

HIM: Oh, when we lived in West Texas. I’m with you now, boy. But the winters weren’t too bad there, so I really don’t remember exactly what any of our coats looked like. I do recall Aunt Vi and Aunt Jeanne sent us some sporty V-neck, sleeveless sweaters for Christmas one year.

ME: Arrgh. Dad, work with me here. I need a paper copy of the family crest. Heck, I don’t even remember living in West Texas.

HIM: Exactly what would I be doing? Don’t get me wrong, I’m flattered by the job offer, but I’m kinda enjoying this retirement thing.

ME: OK, let’s try this again. I’m getting a tattoo, and maybe even a body piercing, to help support the Red Cross and the Hurricane Katrina relief effort. I want to get the family crest so that the tattoo artist has a template to work with.

HIM: I didn’t know you were working for the Red Cross. When did you leave the paper? They aren’t going to cancel my subscription are they?

ME: I don’t work for the Red Cross. Atomic Tattoos is donating money to them to help the hurricane victims. I need a template for the tattoo artist to copy.

HIM: I’m not really sure that joining the Knights Templar is such a good idea. After Jacques de Molay had that problem with Philip IV and Clement V back in 1307, things kinda went south for the Templars. Didn’t you join a fraternity in college?

ME: Yes, I did. I’m a Sigma Chi, remember? What am I doing? Back to the topic at hand, Dad. I want to get a tattoo.

HIM: Didn’t you get a tattoo in college? Or maybe that was one of the other guys in your fraternity that used to raid our refrigerator and drink our beer.

ME: Dad, we’re not talking about college. That was a long time ago. We’re talking about now, hurricane relief, helping folks in need.

HIM: No, no, I do think it was you who got the tattoo. Something Greek if I remember correctly.

ME: Forget it, I’ll just get a battleship or a mermaid or a skull and crossbones or something.

HIM: You know, I seem to remember that the skull and crossbones originated with the Knights Templar.

ME: Not this again.

HIM: Have I ever told you about Jacques de Molay? I probably have. But you probably didn’t know that our family crest has Templar influences, did you.

ME: Our family crest has Templar influences? Really?

HIM: Yeah, I’ll send you a copy. You’ve seen it before; it’s that coat of arms looking thing.

ME: Thanks.

HIM: No problem. Now what was it you were saying about the hurricane?

Mike Boyd is editor of the Colorado Springs Business Journal. He can be reached at or 329-5206.