There is a tattoo parlour called Immortal Ink, next to a tattoo removal parlour called Disappearing Ink. When these two first opened it seemed to be an ironic coincidence – that or very good marketing. How many customers chose the service, knowing that they could always pop next door if their chosen design fell short of expectations? If their visible protestation of undying love needed an early grave? If the cute butterfly on the back the neck, sight unseen, looked more like a wasp?
In marketing terms, there is an interesting partnership to be had too. Could the tattoo parlour offer a discount to the removal parlour, and vice versa?? Is there an opportunity for friendly rivalry (‘Get a tattoo! No, get it removed’)!
Or, had the two shops opened next to each other to cancel each other’s business? Not sensible, but an amusingly perverse situation; and a great USP. I can see other businesses seeking out premises next to reach other and offering discounts – a butchers and vegan supplier, construction and demolition, ice cream parlours and diet club.
But the truth is even stranger. For, as was firmly pointed out to me (a little too firmly actually, in a dream-destroying way) Immortal Ink and Disappearing Ink are the same shop. The two doors lead to the same premises. The narrow window fronts next to each other (which give the impression of small independent dens of borderline iniquity) are narrow because they divide a single unit.
(Which begs the question, is there an internal crossover – do people going in for a tattoo decide to have one removed while they are there, or have an illustration removed and then replace it instantaneously? Are there packages available?)
I digress, back to the language. Immortal is an adjective that describes something as deathless, eternal. Permanent. Disappearing is not quite the opposite (the antonym, as online thesauruses/thesauri are so fond of describing it) – it simply means ‘cease to be visible’.
So even if ‘disappeared’, a tattoo is immortal, in that it will generally leave a scar that is visible, unless it is altered into a different tattoo and still visible in that way. So, the divided shop, its two halves offering a complete service, does exactly what is says on the skin.