Conor Cawley: Regrettable Tattoos I Would’ve Gotten As A 15-Year-Old

I hope my mom doesn’t read this but, I have two tattoos. One is prominently displayed on my left wrist. It’s a symbol that means “live for the moment” and I got it when I was 18 years old. I wanted a lasting reminder to always strive for an interesting life and to never settle for a mediocre existence. Yes, I was a pretty intense teenager, why do you ask?


My other tattoo, however, is well-hidden on my right hip. It’s a small turtle shell and I got it as a 20 years old when a dear friend of mine passed away. This tattoo helped keep me grounded through college and reminded me that, while living for the moment is important, too much of a good thing can have dire consequences.


In response to a question that everyone asks, I have never regretted either of my tattoos.I gave each one of them a great deal of thought before committing to them. I got both of them at trying times in my life, and they remind me of important morals that I hope to hold for my entire life.


However, I was not always the forward-thinking, mature adult I am today. Like many of you, I was once a freshman in high school that thought there were few things cooler than drawing on your skin forever. So here is a short list of tattoos I would’ve gotten had I been allowed to when I was 15 years old:


Snakes Around The Ankles

I wanted this tattoo so bad and can’t think of anything I would regret more if I had followed through. If you can’t picture it, imagine those silver bicep bracelets girls wear when they are going out to a night club. Now picture them on both my ankles, as snakes, in ink, FOREVER.


The reason I wanted this tattoo was because I played basketball for most of my life and I had sprained my ankles a combined eight times because of it. I had also learned that snakes were the Egyptian god of protection, and what better way to avoid ankle sprain #9 than by imprinting these slithering serpents on my feet for the rest of my life? This is just a taste of the bad ideas freshman Conor came up with when it came to tattoos.


Sonic The Hedgehog On My Calf

In high school, I used to be able to run very fast, much like Sonic The Hedgehog. Was my 15-year-old brain dumb enough to actually think that a tattoo could make me run faster? Yes, it was! However, if I had gotten this tattoo, I would have been immediately disappointed at my inability to keep up with the growing expectations of speed as an adult. Running faster than kids that are still in the middle of going through puberty is surprisingly unimpressive.


Besides being an arrogant teenager and a relentless video game nerd, this tattoo would have effectively damned me to a life of living in the past. “Remember that time I ran the length of a football field in like two seconds?” No. No one does and no one wants to. Ever.


Shamrock On My Shoulder

If Notre Dame wins a national championship in my lifetime, this is still going to be a hard tattoo to talk me out of. 15-year-old Conor got a few things right.


Elmer Fudd Pointing A Shotgun At My Butthole With A Speech Bubble That Says, “Come On Out You Wascally Wabbit!”

To me, my butt has always seemed like the perfect canvas for body art. A large, white surface with few wrinkles in a relatively hidden location that has a built-in focal point to start from. Plus, the tattoo artist in question would have a second large, white surface with which to steady his balance while creating the masterpiece in question.


While this tattoo idea was widely discussed among my group of friends at the time, it is merely a place-holder for something more elaborate, crude and contrived. If you haven’t thought about what kind of tattoo you would get on your butt, you truly will remain untattooed for your entire life.

If this list doesn’t convince you that the legal age of adulthood should never drop below 18, I don’t know what will.


  1. I tattooed a star on my stomach in 6th grade. I thought “I’ll always love stars” but of course it looked like the best drawn star for a 6th grader. It faded some, then I got it redone at 19 so I wouldn’t have to explain my terrible looking tattoo everytime someone seen it.

  2. I have always thought I would look cool in tattoes. But figuring out what to put always seems like such a hustle…and its pretty expensive here too. So I just enjoy them on others. I do enjoy the ones people regret the most too.

  3. Love this post. Crikey – can you imagine having got a sonic the hedgehog?!?! Other disasters: the tramp stamp Chinese symbol, a dolphin on ones groin, a lower back eagle. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Oh man, teenage me wanted some deep quote from a song tattooed on my back in scroll lettering, that would have been an teen angst fueled mistake. I also wanted literary quotes plastered on my body but thankfully realized how lame that was before pulling the trigger.

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