here’s how great Poland is

Img_2292 Just seconds ago, I was checking in at the desk of my hotel, and I found myself standing beside Marzena (eyes right).

And, what ho, there’s something on her upper arm.  Why, it’s a tattoo. 

By golly, if it’s not…

"Hey," I say in my most charming voice, "what is that?"

"It’s a double helix," Marzena says, matter of factly.

"Double helix!" I exclaim.  I’m a smooth talker.   "What, did you study that in school?"

"I studied history," Marzena says.

It turns out that Marzena is in the lobby of my hotel because her car has broken down in the hotel garage, and she is, at the moment, asking the hotel clerk to call her a tow truck. 

Img_2293 "It’s not finished," she says.


"The tattoo.  It’s not finished." 

A work in progress, then.  I’ve sat in the Cambridge pub, the Eagle, where Watson (or was it Crick?) pulled out the X-rays and wondered whether this might represent the discovery of the secret of life.   

And now it’s a double helix on the arm of a girl who can’t get her car out of a Lodz garage.    The passage took 55 years: X-ray (1952) to tattoo (2007).   

And I ask you.  When tattoos went mainstream in the 1990s, everyone thought real hard about how to get something "totally interesting."  Dolphins, dragons, death heads, yawn.   Marzena had a better idea.

8 thoughts on “here’s how great Poland is

  1. John McCreery

    Yesterday evening, my wife and I were settling in at out table for two at the AfterWords Cafe behind Kramer Books on Connecticut Avenue, Washington, D.C. Two young women were seated at the next table. The one facing me had just graduated from Goucher College. On the underside of her forums were tattooed two phrases in Latin (neither of which, unfortunately, I was able to read…my high school Latin having decayed to “amo, amas, amant” and my first bilingual pun “agricola fui,” literally “I was a farmer”; read by my adolescent self as “farmer? phooey!”

  2. Imethisguy

    A high school buddy of mine, in the late sixties, had his sister knit him a pair of mittens, one with the word ‘space’ in the pattern, the other with the word ‘time’. The mittens were connected by an idiot string.

  3. Michael

    I just LOVE this!

    I used to chat with Crick all the time at the Neuroscience Intitute here in La Jolla…he would have loved the Tat also – and what its attached too as well… 🙂



  4. Anonymous

    Watson and Crick might be a little disappointed that her tat is a left-handed helix however.

  5. knobody

    how amusing to see another double helix. mine’s around my ankle and includes a replicon, but no base pairs (it’s a smaller helix and the tattooist said it wouldn’t come out well).

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