What was funniest about the whole thing was his mother's reaction. She laughed about it, and liked the tattoo, but she told him that he would have to tell me and his grandparents by himself, expecting us to hit the roof. When I got home from work, she came into the bedroom where I was changing and said "Da Boy has something to tell you, and I want you to listen, and not get mad until he's finished, if you get mad."
After interrogating her as to whether I was going to get mad or laugh, and her not telling me, except to say she laughed, she called him in.
He started telling me about how, even though he was a part of the VFD, he didn't really feel like a member, and that after some time in the class , he now felt that way, and that as a result of that new bond, he wanted to show his devotion to the brotherhood. Then he lifted his shirt and showed me the tat.
My first thought was "Where in the hell did he find a temporary tattoo that good?", and my second reaction was "Cool!" when I figured out it wasn't temporary. His grandparents had much the same reaction. This took all the wind out of my wife's sails. "I thought you would react more than this. You're taking all the fun out of this!", she exclaimed, after neither his grandparents nor I evinced much of a reaction past "You're eighteen. Do what you want." She was expecting explosions and got wet powder.
Oh, I know it looks big but it's not really. It's only about an inch and a half across. Here's how it looks on him, fuller view:
Kids. What are ya gonna do? Can't live with 'em, can't seal 'em in a barrel, and feed 'em through the bunghole 'til they're twenty, either.