(C) 2016 Luke T. Bush PLATTSBURGH CITY, NY -- Wednesday April 13, 2016 Media in various forms has served to raise awareness of mental health issues. Today's medium: tattoo. Specifically a semicolon.. Noontime at Body Art and Piercing in downtown Plattsburgh. Nick Dubay and two other members of the Anti-Stigma Coalition of Clinton County have volunteered to receive small semicolons at the parlor.
Why the semicolon? The punctuation mark symbolizes the life of someone trying to improve their mental health. Nick explains the semicolon indicates a pause in a sentence, that there is more to be said. It symbolizes the life of someone dealing with mental illness who will continue on. Apparently tattoos draw in news media looking for a good story. Two local TV stations, one radio station, one newspaper (and, of course, one blog.) The TV stations each have sent a videographer and a reporter. Added to the others there is a total of seven media types covering the event. And that presents a problem when we all crowd into a small room where the tattooing will be done. While today's video cameras are smaller than the old film behemoths they are still bulky, taking up space. Cameras and a voice recorder unit take up the rest. I pick a spot and stay there, getting my own camera angle on the inking. Putting myself on klutz alert I make sure not to set off a chain reaction, people as dominoes. Body Art tattooist Todd Lamere calmly proceeds despite the claustrophobic setting, video cameras up close to his face. His beard and Grateful Dead t-shirt remind me of a laid-back hippie, naturally tranquil and friendly. His deft movements suggest he was a dentist in a previous life. Tattoo veteran Nick Dubay reassures the first volunteer by holding hands during her turn. Initially the ink virgin acts apprehensive but finds it isn't that much of an ordeal. She soon displays a semicolon on her hand. The second volunteer goes under the needle; this time the target area is her foot. She has chosen a heart shape combined with a semicolon. Nick holds her hand and everything turns out OK again. After he gets his own semicolon Nick explains that today's event is a preview of another one on May 12. Body Art will be offering $20 semicolon tattoos at 14 Margaret Street from 4 PM to 8 PM. This event will promote public awareness of local agencies that help people fighting for positive mental health. More info: firstname.lastname@example.org .
NOTE: This article was revised 4/14/16 at 1 PM to correct factual errors.