I should be dead. I tried hard. But my (then) 4 month old son saved my life.
A moment of clarity in a three-day binge. A phone call. And twelve hours trying to find a detox that had a bed.
Fifteen to twenty years of drinking daily. Using on the side when I could score. You name it, I’ve done it. And then hooked, claws in deep, to the hard stuff. Dope.
That’s the skinny on my drinking and drugging days. They ended like many others. Homeless. Broke. And broken.
I have always had a love affair with tattoos. Not just the tattoo itself but the culture, the secret history of the Americana traditional tattoo, which is dying quickly with their massive popularity these days.
Just a couple weeks out of detox I got a new tattoo. I had to. So I got a calavera with some hidden meaning in the imagery in it. Roses to me always represent people. There’s a cobweb for the lies. There is a symbol for faith. An upside down heart for my past life and love for my son. And of course the day of the dead skull itself as a celebration of my life and near death.
Second one I got was my grandfather Bobby Ray’s birthday, 8/17/1933, which is also my birthday, 8/17/1976. I looked up to that man like no other. My son Jackson Ray was born two Decembers ago, my grandfather passed the following January having never met him.
Aaron Lee Perry is a Louisville, KY area based artist, writer and printmaker. Nicknamed the “Alchemist” because he seems to be into everything, he is a proud father, a recovering addict and alcoholic, founder of SOBrSOLDIER and Saints.Sinners.Survivors.Club., and is also the creative mind and voice behind theSpokenJOINT on the SRN network. He also makes pretty rad t-shirts. Visit him at aaronleeperry.com.