Fair & Square Tattoo


Dear Abby Tattoo

by Donald Smith

Donald Smith's John Prine "Dear Abby" tattoo

  I got started on John Prine music in the early 1970s. The irony and obvious truthfulness of John’s lyrics always made me stop and wonder. Anyway, here is my tattoo celebrating all the years of laughter and happiness John Prine has given me through his songs.

  The tattoo was done in early 2010. First the lettering was done and then the rope and love knot (aka, square knot). It took three sittings. The longest sitting was about two hours for the rope work. The tattoo was done by Miss Judy at Anchorage Tattoo.

  "You are what you are and you ain't what you ain't" has been in my mind since the mid 1970s while convalescing from an accident and listening to public radio out of Philadelphia. It is a bit fatalistic phrase, but one I have always remembered. I am now approaching my 70s and thought it was time to memorialize what Mr. Prine taught me.

  I saw John Prine in Homer, Alaska and then again in Anchorage during his 2002 tour. It was the only time I saw him in person. His songs have had so much influence about how I think and what I do. Thank you Mr. Prine.


Donald Smith
Anchorage, Alaska