Thursday, September 8, 2016

Nurse the Hate: Hate The Pretzel Tattoo

There has been rumbling about the latest Leo P. Love tattoo for quite some time.  At last it has come to fruition and “The Pretzel Bracelet” has taken a permanent place on Leo’s wrist.  Was it a good idea?  No, of course not.  Is it Full On Leo?  Yes.  The key is to really understand the backstory of this magnificent piece of body art.

When we first started touring in Germany I don’t know how much Leo knew about Germany.  I know he was aware of World War II and that Hitler fella.  He definitely knew about the nation’s good beer reputation.  He might have known about Berlin conceptually.  Any other solid information was a long shot with one big exception; pretzels.

Leo has always fully embraced the pretzel as both a means of going local while in country and as his primary source of nourishment.  At any two-bit gas station off the Autobahn, airport vendor, or small town bakery he can be counted on to ignore the 74 other local delicacies and order a pretzel in the same fashion.  “Ah yes… (point to the pretzel)… ahh… one.. ahh… pretzel?”  He then nods in an encouraging fashion as they bag it up for him and request a euro.  He then sort of gnaws at the pretzel all day, pulling it from his mashed up bag out of his jacket pocket.  It’s sort of his German Tradition.

One day we were in what was the old East Germany.  This would have been before most of the population there had at least a working understanding of English.  Any attempt to buy something from a shop could result in complete disaster as a torrent of angry German could rain down on you from any elderly shop lady.  Ken once observed me order a cup of tea from a takeout food stand in perfect German only to have it result in a woman screaming at me in an angry sounding lashing.

Me:  Te bitte?  (Tea please?)
Her:    Wie es wagen, bestellen Sie Tee du dreckiger Teufel? Wie wäre ich einen heißen Tee in Ihrem Arschloch gießen , während Sie wie ein Baby schreien!?!?!?!?!!!!  (How dare you order tea you filthy fuck?  How about I pour some hot tea in your asshole while you scream like a baby?)
At least that’s what it seemed like happened…  She probably asked if I wanted sugar.  It’s so hard to tell with German.

So Leo and I walk into a bakery in this old East German town to get a little snack before loading in.  As soon as I walk in, I realize there might be a problem.  This is an Old School place.  This is not a tourist destination.  The women behind the counter are all 60+ and completely humorless as one would expect.  I pointed to something easily identified and smiled like a mental patient.  Bingo.  Mission accomplished.  Leo stepped up.  It is important to note he is wearing Oliver’s “Henry Fiatt’s Open Sores” hoodie and his voice is a husky croak due to partying too much for too long.  He is unshaven and looks like a drifter.  He asks the woman in this horrible headcold voice “Ahhh?  Bretzelllllll…”  The woman has no idea what he is saying.  “Bretzellllll….”  The clerk looks to an old man drinking coffee at a table.  He shrugs as he also has no idea what Leo is saying.  I note to Leo that it is late, no pretzels are out, and he should point to something else.  No way.  Dude wants a pretzel. 

This is when Leo decides to communicate using some sign language.  The bakery sign has pretzels on the logo on either side of the shop name.  Leo thinks that he will be able to communicate that he wants a pretzel by pointing to the sign and croaking out “Breeettttzzzelllll” again.  Unfortunately, what these people see is a drifter pointing out a window saying an unintelligible word.  Leo!  What the fuck man!  They can’t understand you and you’re pointing out the fucking window!  They don’t know you are pointing to a sign up on the outside wall!  Just get something else!  Nope.  I left him there pointing and croaking.  “Bretzelllllll…”  He never got that pretzel.

I think it was on our last tour there that the interlocking pretzel necklace idea hit him.  He had been “Talking to The Elephant”(or drinking Elephant Malt Liquor).  This is when many questionable ideas can hit a man.  He started sketching on a piece of paper talking about how cool it was going to be, head down, hoodie on.  Like many ideas The Elephant can whisper, I thought this would fade away like Leo’s idea for a Carnival Food drive through, the legendary Mephisto’s, and buying a failing heavy metal nightclub and serving crepes there.  Somehow that piece of paper stayed with him, as did the idea.  Now behold.  The pretzel bracelet tattoo.   


At September 9, 2016 at 4:15:00 PM EDT , Blogger Ken Miller said...

As tattoos go, and in particular as Lao tattoos go, I think this is a pretty good one. It's creative, it has some meaning and context, and it is symmetrical with the "Chain of Leos"on the opposite wrist.


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