A couple of weeks ago, I was kidding Carlo Calabrese that getting tattoos was perhaps not the best way to serve a suspension. But after reviewing the source of his ink inspirations, maybe his tattoos are not such a bad thing at all.
Some of this is no doubt due to the fact the crazy-but-creative Calabrese does not always make a favorable first impression.
As teammate Manti Te’o recalls, “I actually first met him at an All-Star game in Hawaii. This No. 44 in the blue jersey, shaking his head, yelling. I was like, ‘If I ever get my hands on him, I’m going to choke him.’ Now I love him as my brother.”
Speaking of unfavorable impressions of Calabrese and his tattoos, his own mother Ann Calabrese was his biggest tattoo critic — until he converted her with a very special one.
Sitting on the couch a couple of summers ago, waiting for her son Carlo to shower, Ann Calabrese still did not know where the new tattoo was or what it said. She just knew the credit card bill sent home to New Jersey revealed a charge to “Liquid Ink,” which meant that Carlo was sporting yet another tattoo, which meant she was furious.
Carlo wanted to surprise her, but he didn’t have cash that day for the tattoo, so out came the card and with it went part of the suspense. But his mother didn’t know the details. And the details were everything; an oversized pink ribbon etched on Carlo’s left pectoral muscle with the inscription “Only if I was as strong as You.”
Carlo finished his shower and absently walked by his mother before putting on a shirt. For the first time, Ann, who completed chemotherapy for breast cancer only a few months earlier, saw the ribbon, the words, and an “Oh my God” squeaked out. And she cried.
“She gave me a hug and kiss,” Carlo said. “She liked it. She liked it.”
And now comes word from reliable sources that Carlo’s new tattoo, which I couldn’t make heads or tails out of, wasn’t a new tattoo at all. He was merely showing off an old one dedicated to his late grandfather, who always envisioned Calabrese playing for the Irish.
While I would prefer tattoo confirmation from Calabrese himself (who since his suspension has come back strong for the Irish, with eleven tackles in the past two games), I am told the one pictured in the tweet includes a cross, a halo and wings, and bears the inscription “Poppy,” another noble sentiment indeed.
Although I’m still not convinced tattoos are the best way to follow the Fourth Commandment (especially when you are paying for them with your folks’ credit card) in Calabrese’s case it seems to work. And if you are determined to make your muscles a canvas, I believe God will be pretty happy if you stick to pictures honoring your mother and father…or “Poppy” as the case may be.
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