At a dinner party the other night, Harper Lee mentioned that she was contemplating getting a tattoo. And I, along with others in her close inner circle, looked at each other with a “Here we go again” look and said, “But Harper, why not go with henna hands, or something else that isn’t quite so…permanent? A tattoo after all this time will never live up to your first tattoo, which is arguably the greatest tattoo in recorded history.” But Lee said, “Fuck all ya’ll! You’re not talking me out of it this time!” And we said, “All right, all right—but surely you’ll go for something tasteful?” And she said, “Step off, fuckers.
I’m getting a tramp stamp. It’s going to be my interpretation of Faulkner’s
idiot man-child, flailing across the small of my back.” There was simply no
dissuading her. So I gave her a ride to the tattoo parlor—an “off the radar”
kind of place, to avoid media attention, of course. I stood guard outside the
door, and when she emerged, she showed me the tattoo. Ever the spontaneous
spirit, Lee had decided to include some words, too, which read in cursive: “Da
Sound ‘n’ da Fury.” I didn’t have the heart to tell her that the tattoo artist
had in fact spelled it “Furry.” Ah well, it happens to the best of us, Harps. You
may live to regret this, but really, how long can that be?