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Saturday, February 25, 2012 | Latest audio lessons → VOA Learning English

These People Really See the Point in Body Ink

MATT KNOPP: "My job is: I come to work; I hang out with my friends, and I draw. When you're, you know, that big, I mean isn't that the job you'd wanna have?"

Mr. Knopp owns Tattoo Paradise in Washington, DC.

MATT KNOPP: "Those are the people I usually hang out with. You know, if I worked with a bunch of guys that were doctors I'd be hangin' out with those guys all the time. We're not all saints, but I mean, you come in and I'm going to treat you with respect until you make it where I can't treat you like that."

Ian Palmiero has been Tattoo Paradise many times.

IAN PALMIERO: "The people here are great. They treat each other like family. They treat their clients like family."

He says getting a tattoo is not enjoyable.

IAN PALMIERO: "There's no thrill about getting tattooed. It sucks. It hurts. If that's a deterrent to anyone, believe me ... it sucks ... it does not feel good. I can't tell you why I keep doing it. Every two weeks."

Every two weeks. That means he gets a tattoo as often as most Americans are paid.

IAN PALMIERO: "I know that it's in the 10s of ...maybe even 50, 60 grand over the years?"

Mr. Knopp says people should be prepared to spend a lot of money for a good tattoo.

MATT KNOPP: "People don't wanna spend money. And honestly, a good tattoo costs money. They would rather go spend $200 on a pair of jeans or $150 on a pair of shoes that last you, you know, X amount of time. And a tattoo that'll last you forever, they'd rather go spend 30 bucks for."

Mr. Knopp warns against getting a tattoo from someone other than a tattoo shop worker.

MATT KNOPP: "You don't want to get tattooed outside of a tattoo shop, because of the threat of infectious disease. I mean, who knows how old the needle is, or how old the ink is, or whatnot?" I'm June Simms.