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Things We Saw Today: The Absolute Most Unfortunate Tattoo To Get Just Before a Pandemic Hits


A person in a red sweater wearing a mask holds their head looking exasperated.

Getting a tattoo can be a risky decision. We’re all constantly changing and the meaning behind them can fade—or worse, totally sour. But there’s also the risk that the meaning of the image itself can change, like getting a Pepe the Frog tattoo back when it was just a cute cartoon stoner. Or the woman who accidentally got an ostensible anti-masker tattoo before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S.

BuzzFeed has the story of Leah Holland, a 25-year old woman who’d been thinking about getting a tattoo for two years. The ink she wanted was a quote a friend had once used to describe her. It was a really nice compliment, talking about how Holland isn’t afraid to be herself.

That quote? “You courageously and radically refuse to wear a mask.”

Holland had those words inked onto her forearm on March 4, 2020. Two days later, her state of Kentucky announced its first coronavirus case. Within a month, the CDC was recommending all people in the U.S. wear masks in public. And pretty much immediately, there were people who thought their refusal to do so was “courageous and radical.”

To be clear, Holland isn’t one of those people. She says she’s not an anti-masker, she just has really unfortunate timing for planning her messages of self-empowerment.

@wakaflockafloccar##stitch with @hannanicbic I could NOT have had worse timing. ##fyp ##foryoupage ##tattoo ##worsttattoo ##winner P.S. I’m not anti-mask I promise 🤦🏻‍♀️♬ original sound – wakaflockafloccare

Holland shared her tattoo in response to a TikTok trend of people sharing the “the dumbest tattoo that you’ve ever gotten,” which reminds me of a great Twitter conversation from earlier this week. People were sharing the little things they did to unknowingly tempt fate right before the whole world shut down. The responses were a nice, mostly hilarious but also sometimes devastating place to commiserate over our collective decision-making facepalms.

So we all have little pre-pandemic things we regret. At least we can feel lucky that most of us don’t have an accidental anti-masker tattoo. (via BuzzFeed)

  • Republican Ron Johnson used his questioning time during a Senate hearing today to push absurd and disgusting conspiracy theories about antifa being behind the January 6 insurrection. He literally read aloud from a rando’s blog post that claimed the crowd was “jovial, friendly, earnest,” and “energized and festive, not angry or incited.” (via Daily Beast)
  • There is no greater glow-up for a movie than replacing Chris D’Elia with Tig Notaro. (via Pajiba)
  • On Dana Scully’s birthday, Gillian Anderson has joined the cast of the upcoming anthology series The First Lady, which already has Viola Davis set to play Michelle Obama and Michelle Pfeiffer as Betty Ford. Anderson will play Eleanor Roosevelt. (via Variety)

  • Respect your local murder!

  • A 25-year-old bartender and swim instructor just became the youngest woman to row across an ocean. (via The New York Times)
  • A YouTuber recreated Hamilton inside of Animal Crossing. Not just a scene or two. The. Entire. Musical. (via Nerdist)
  • This is a fantastic examination of the extremely complicated messaging around Britney Spears, sexuality, and control. (via The Cut)

Here’s hoping you’re having a decent Tuesday out there.

(image: engin akyurt on Unsplash)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) has a lot of opinions about a lot of things. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband Brock Wilbur and too many cats.