A d F o n t e s

(Latin: "to the sources")

Another Odd Tattoo

It is a little too strange to be seeing yet another bad tattoo, but since it was the topic of my last post it keeps with the theme.  And strange enough it was at the campus library photocopiers, where I was copying a text of that oh so perverse satirist Perseus. 

This time it was again in Latin, and again in the small of a young woman’s back, and read “Me Destruit,” meaning “he/she/it destroys me.”  That and the location means the line of questioning that follows from “veni vidi vici” certainly applies here.  It’s bizarre the kinds of things some folks put on their bodies. 

So I got the idea to google this one, and straightaway the most common hit was this quote “quod me nutrit me destruit,” “what nourishes me destroys me.”  I couldn’t find an author so I don’t know if it’s ancient or modern, though it sounds a little like Nietzche’s “what doesn’t kill use makes us stronger,” which clearly isn’t what the Latin means though perhaps there’s an echo. I did learn, however, that Angelina Jolie had it tattooed below her navel (why? And what does the cross have to do with anything?).  It sounds to me like the kind of line one would think is “cool” only if one didn’t think about it.  It’s actually pretty silly. 

In any event, I’m inclined to think the young woman had “quod me nutrit” tattooed elsewhere–perhaps the navel like Jolie.  Though this is Columbia University, so perhaps she was doing a revisionist reading of the line–perhaps meaning something like “it just destroys me.” 

This leads me to one piece of advice: 

(1) If you’re going to put a permanent mark on your body, make sure you know what the heck you’re doing. 

(2) And if it’s in a foreign language you don’t read, find someone who does (I feel bad for the poor souls who had those embarrassing Hebrew ones done). 

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October 8, 2007 - Posted by | Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. […] that the most popular hits on this blog come from my miniseries on terrible tattoos: here andhere. I found a couple of new ones, so I thought I’d share […]

    Pingback by More bad tattoos « A d F o n t e s | June 25, 2009 | Reply


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