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Strange correlation - tattoos and dying young

Just tonight finished reading This Will Kill You, a book I stumbled onto at the bookstore a couple of weeks ago.  It explains the precise cause of death (COD) form dozens of ways in which people die.  In addition, it gives current annual death tolls and historic death tolls from each, from events like the Plague, airplane crashes, etc. 

While it sounds macabre - and I admit to having some interest in gory details - I found it interesting to read a section or so every day for a couple of weeks.  We basically stop living in one of three ways:  we stop breathing, our hearts cease beating, or our brains stop functioning.  The legal, uniform definition of death in our country includes one or more of these three factors. 

The best part of the book was the final chapter, which was written by an undertaker.  He made many very profound points about life and death, some philosophical and some factual.  One of the most interesting facts he cited - and he said this has held true even as tattoos have gone more mainstream - involved dying young. 

Apparently, virtually every young person he had received in the funeral home under the age of 25 had a tattoo.  I do not know if this is related to higher risk-taking in general, but he said is is almost a universal thing.  I was sort of surprised that this is still the case, since a lot of kids get inked nowadays. 

Tried to think back on those we knew who had passed away early, but didn't know if they had tats or not...wondered if any of you had ever noticed this in people you know who had died early in life?

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2 Replies
mike se il

This is like interpretting yield maps

This doesn't surprise me.   It's tough to determine which is cause and which is effect.  My suspicion is this is related to the willingness to engage in risky behavior.  Also, it seems in this area getting a tat has almost become a rite of passage. In some of the more "risk prone" groups it is expected you will have tat's.


Our church is fairly conservative ... but I know at least 2 elder's wives with tat's.  That just amazes me.  I guess it's a sign I am getting old and very conservative?

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Senior Contributor

Re: This is like interpretting yield maps

Our friend who died last month was an elder and a deacon in our church.   She was 54 and had John 3:16 tattooed on her wrist.     I'll be honest I didn't even know about it till the minister mentioned it at her funeral.     He felt she did it to get people to ask her why she had it.     

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