The three-year itch

by Evans Yonson

Cagayan de Oro – In 2010, upon the prodding of my dear friend, Daines, I had my first tattoo done. The choice was very simple –my initals. One of my former students did the design years ago before I flew to Barcelona. I asked the tattoo artist to put it behind my left ear. It didn’t hurt so much as I was holding on to the artist’s legs. Don’t ask me what happened after because I won’t tell a word.


When I came back to Cagayan de Oro last year, I have always wanted to have a tatt done. The design? Silhouettes of all world famous sites that I have been to in all my past travels like the Eiffel Tower (Paris), the Leaning Tower of Pisa (Italy), the Little Mermaid (Denmark), the Statue of Liberty (USA), the Cristo Redentor (Portugal), the Big Ben (England), and many more. I expect to have more than a dozen of silhouettes, at least 24 as of the last count.

I met up with two artists last February, 2013 and discussed the design. They were surprised to hear about my plans. One said, “it’s going to hurt so bad since you have 24 distinct designs.” Me thought: “What else could hurt me now?”

After a series of unfortunate events, I ended up with a new design and no available tattoo artist to ink me.

Someone told me that the design should represent something about myself. Here’s the new design:


This design is a sketch painting by Spanish master painter, Pablo Picasso (1955).

According to “The painting is of Don Quixote de la Mancha, his horse Rocinante, his squire Sancho Panza and his donkey Dapple, the sun, and several windmills. The bold lines, almost scribbles, that compose the figures are stark against a plain, white background. The figures are almost laconic and deformed, and are dramatic. Sancho Panza looks up at a tall, elongated, gaunt Don Quixote, who, in return, gazes forward. Don Quixote and Rocinante stand nobly, but have a somewhat tired air. The figure, painted with heavy strokes, seems to have been changed multiple times as Picasso painted Don Quixote’s torso, arms and shoulder. “The knight’s head, capped by what would be Mambrino’s helmet, is connected to his shoulders by a neck made with a single, thin line, and it sports a pointed nose and a long, equally thin goatee. He carries a lance in his right hand and the reins and a circular shield apparently in his left. Rocinante is the bag of bones described by Cervantes. Panza appears to the left, a black mass vaguely defining his round body, and sitting on Dapple who has a long, wiry neck and thin, long ears. Little attention seems to have been paid to Panza sketched in the same vein, perhaps because Don Quixote is the center of attention. Though the two figures seem to be standing still, the drawing is full of movement; the lines are exuberant and the overall effect is catchy and one of bright humor.”

In high school, I have always had stage fright. My English teacher encouraged me to join a stage musical called Man From La Mancha. The musical is famous for the song, The Impossible Dream. It was during this time that I had my first crush. It was a year of self-discovery, of what I wanted to be and what to do in the future. I wanted to be a traveller just like Don Quixote (the impossible dreamer) or Sancho (the ever-loyal friend).

Little did I know then I would live someday in the favorite Spanish city of Picasso, Barcelona. I have visited more than a gazillion times the Picasso Museum along Carrer Montcada near Barrio Gotico. It’s always delight to see how Pablo played with Velasquez’s Las Meninas. I could go on and on and on.

Finally, I decided the design inked on my lower left thigh by an upcoming tattoo artist, Zteffi Baz. The three-year itch is done and over with but I want some more. I’m keeping my 24 designs for appointment. The itching just doesn’t stop easily.