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You Gotta Represent 

click to enlarge MATT STEVENS
  • Matt Stevens

About an hour. That's how long it took the folks at Barfield's Tattoo and Body Piercing to inscribe "Colorado Springs," with the accompanying state flag onto the 17-year-old chest of Palmer High School senior Richard McNulty. Perhaps not surprisingly, an hour is also how long McNulty thought over the indelible consequences of his pledge of regional patriotism. Then again, this wasn't McNulty's first tattoo, and as his future plans include the inking of his left arm and possibly even a reverse image of the Colorado Springs piece on the opposing cleavage of his chest it's unlikely to be his last.

McNulty, a sinewy skinhead and Army reservist seems neither sanguine nor mournful about his body art. He merely calls it like he sees it. "Colorado Springs is awesome," he says. When asked whether he has lived anyplace else, he mentions the past summer spent at Army boot camp in Missouri. But McNulty's quite confident that his tattoo will always have resonance as the Springs will always be the place where he spent his formative years.

His parents, he claims, did not flip out upon seeing the ink on cellulite masterpiece. Rather, like his Palmer classmates, they only asked: Why?

As McNulty explains "You gotta represent."

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