Mother Goose & Grimm by Mike Peters has been around for years. It started in 1984, the year after I graduated high school. I always enjoyed it. The characters were, well... Characters. It was funny stuff.
Sometime in the early to mid 90s I came across a t-shirt that had his character Grimmy on both the front and the back.
It was Grimmy running full tilt boogie on the front and on the back it was the back view of Grimmy.
It tickled me. For some reason there was something about it that I related to.
And so it began...
At the time I was racing remote control cars and the front view of Grimmy on the run was perfect for the hood of my car. It fit the racing theme but with a comical twist, which is the way I tend to see the world.
I still have the cut out hood somewhere - looked for it before I sat down and started writing this but alas, it escapes me as to where it is.
Unfortunately I can't find any more pictures of it but my next spot to place this wonderful graphic was on my motocross trailer.
On the front of the trailer I had painted the front view of Grimmy and on the back of the trailer was the back view of him, copied from the shirt. Above him on the front was a "No Fear" motocross sticker.
It was a pretty common sticker, along with "All Golf Courses Should Be Motocross Tracks" among the MX crowd.
On the sides of the trailer I painted two other pictures of Grimmy with his side kick Attila the cat. I got a kick out of the reactions I had to this comic strip trailer as I traveled the country racing. There was almost always someone at a gas station that would come up laughing and smiling (the way it should be) about it.
This is actually where Yellow Dog Racing came from. A couple of my motocross buddies started calling me Yellow Dog after I'd done the artwork. I got a kick out of the entendre. Calling someone "Yellow" was calling them gutless or cowardice. Yeah, maybe I was on that damned Suzuki. I would have loved to use Grimmy as my logo but I knew that it would be a copyright infringement and the last thing I needed was legal troubles over me using someone else's art as my logo.
I sat down with a graphics program and drew out the pointy lined (1980's Lambo lines) Yellow Dog that you see in the upper left corner of all my pages.
I've actually kept the front of the ancient shirt that I purchased so many years ago.
It's been used for making stencils to transfer to the trailer, copied and shrunk to put on the R/C race car hood and for the stencil to transfer him to my shoulder.
So this brings up the tattoo...
My Mother would probably not be pleased. I have ink on my back. I may have waited to get it until after her passing if truth be known.
I'd been thinking about a tattoo for a very long time. I wasn't quite sure what I'd get. After all, it's PERMANENT so you gotta be completely good with it. I'd tossed around a few ideas but nothing ever stuck.
But there was that pic of Grimmy that so well said what I feel. It must have as I'd been sticking it on racing stuff for a few years.
So why not stick it on me?
Well... Because it wasn't complete. That's why.
The picture says so much but there was something missing and I couldn't put my finger on it.
I don't recall what it was that I was watching (maybe an ink show? - they were pretty popular in the early 2000s) but this young man on the episode talked about his life, the stuff he'd been through and at the end of the show came out with "One Life" on the inside of his right arm and "One Chance" on his left one. When he held out his arms it read "One Life One Chance". That hit a chord with me. It's so true and I've made it a point to keep taking a shot at taking that chance.
A few days later I was loading up the motocross trailer and took a look at Grimmy with "No Fear" above him. Hmmm... "One Life One Chance No Fear" AHA!!! It completed itself. I saw my tattoo.
I made a stencil, figured out the placement of the wording and headed off to the local shop to get inked.
Side note - It took me almost five years from thinking I wanted a tat to completed concept of something that I wanted to actually put on my body. After all, these things are PERMANENT.
I'd made my appointment to get Grimmy on my back and as I'm sitting there in the waiting area a mother and daughter came in the place. They were all giggly and having fun (a good thing). They wanted to get tattoos that matched. They started looking through the four or five books of artistry sitting on the table, pointing and commenting on the things they saw. The two of them found something they both liked, took the book up to the counter and said "We'd like to get this."
You walk in, spend fifteen minutes flipping pages of pictures and say "This"?
I'd spent years figuring out what I want. These two walk in point at something with no meaning behind it (at least in my eyes) and get it put on their bodies? Wow.
I asked the guy that helped them, after they left, if this was common. "Yeah, women do it all the time. Men usually have meaning behind theirs."
Okay, that makes me feel a little better.
Fast forward to January of 2013.
My girlfriend (now my best friend and amazing, loving wife Robyn) was in Florida with a friend in the friend's condo. As per the norm, Robyn is social and talking to people in the condo. Turns out that one of the people there is Mike Peters. They strike up a conversation about both being from the Dayton area and when Robyn realizes just who Mike is, she pulls out her phone and shows Mike a picture of my Grimmy tat.
A couple of days later they run into each other and Mike tells her that he has something for her. He pulls out one of his Mother Goose and Grimm books and on the inside he's drawn his interpretation of my tattoo.
There's something really cool about having the guy who drew what's on my back turn around and draw his character imitating me.
Go embrace this world we live in.
Enjoy it for all it's worth.
Make it Real
Stupid legal disclaimer:
The pictures of the T-shirt are from The Captain's Vintage.com
Shirt and the piece I still have are copy written 1986 Tribune Media Services, Lintex Marketing Austin, TX
Not sure how to claim my tattoo. It's Mike Peter's art but I've stuck it on me and in my web pages.
Drawing of Grimmy w/Me was done by Mike Peters but is in my possession so???