Feb 6, 2010

To pierce or not to pierce

I’m not really into body piercing. It may be popular in some cultures, but I don’t think it’s attractive. I am not sure why people want to pierce their nose, brow, tongue, cheek, lips, forehead or belly button. I spend most of my time in our little community of Vail so I don’t see this stuff often. But every once in a while I venture out to the mall and come across someone who looks like a human pincushion. I think to myself, “Why would anyone want to do this?” But based upon my casual observation, body piercing is becoming more and more popular. Who knows? Maybe someday it will be the new normal!


It just seems so dangerous. I have heard stories about people who have lost their tongues from a piercing infection. This makes sense. There is a risk of infection any time someone sticks an object into the skin. Even ears have a risk of infection from piercing. As I searched to find out the statistics I could only find an article about someone who died from a tongue piercing. Apparently a healthy young woman developed a fatal infection presumably from a recent tongue piercing. The infection went undetected to the point where she could not be saved. I stopped searching. Death trumps losing a tongue. Now I know that one case in all the tongue piercings is very, very rare, but I will share this story with my kids anyway.


I suppose if I lived in another culture I might see things differently. I have seen the National Geographic episode of the Amazon tribe that places a bone in the lower lip. This is done when the child is still young and the bone is increased in size as the person gets older. By the time they are a full grown adult they have a large bone sticking out of their lower lip. Since everyone has one, they would look silly not to have one. But I don’t live in the Amazon. I live in the US. I like my lower lips the same way I like my chicken …boneless.


I was thinking about all of this because of a recent story out of northeastern Pennsylvania. Holly Crawford is on trial for conducting body piercing. Did she pierce herself? No, that is legal. Did she pierce her child? No, that’s legal too. I don’t think anyone would have raised an eyebrow if she had her child’s ears pierced. This is normal in our culture. No, Holly is going to a full jury trial for doing body piercing …on her three kittens.


Now when I was growing up, we had Dobermans. When Dobermans are young their ears are clipped and their tails are cropped. This may seem painful and cruel but quite frankly this is what makes a Doberman look like a Doberman. It’s what makes them look stately. But while it’s acceptable to cut off a dog’s tail, apparently it is not acceptable to put an earring in a cat. Go figure.


But I must confess, there is one radical piercing that I think was acceptable. In fact, I am quite grateful for it. It involved driving huge nails into the man’s hands and feet. The piercing didn’t look very good and the man eventually died. But I think they were the most beautiful piercings that ever happened.




Pastor David Hook



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