The Latin term memento mori stands for – remember that you must die. They remind that everyone is mortal. ‘Memento’ also stands for ‘a point of departure’. A deviation. Perhaps even signifying unfaithfulness.
‘Memento Mori’ is also the title of a story written by Jonathan Nolan. The complex story is centered around a man named Leonard in a mental institution. Leonard has problems with his memory and so has to depend on notes and pictures to daily remind himself about what he has to do, even simple chores like brushing his teeth.
The extend of his brain damage could be gauged from the scenes of Leonard trying to cope with his daily life. The main cause of his problem is the rape and murder of his wife. This is all he can think of, and he carries on with notes written in italics to himself stuck all over the ceiling where he stoically explains why he could never lead a normal existence. He seeks revenge for his wife’s murder knowing he cannot get over it. This is the only scene fresh in his mind and memory.
The story is interspersed with five brief scenes in Leonard’s life – waking up in a mental institution, trying to go through the process of brushing his teeth, waking up fully clothed in bed, and then reading the note on the ceiling telling him he must escape the institution to find his wife’s killer.
He opens his eyes to find himself getting a tattoo, waking up in a hotel room, and examining all his tattooed facts and instructions, including a sketch of a man’s face. looking out a car window at a dead man on the sidewalk with a face matching his tattoo, then finding that he is handcuffed and can’t find a pen as the car pulls away from the scene.
The human mind, conditioned largely by what we read, learn and are told, is rather crazy. The images it creates in people’s minds, seen or unseen, largely influences the person to go in for a particular tattoo design at a specific spot in his or her body. Earlier, tattoos were largely used by ruffians, outlaws and biker gangs. But now even celebrities sport tattoos and complement their piercings. (www.tattoos-the.com).
History of the tattoo
The word ‘tattoo’ comes from the Tahitian word tatau. In the 1800s tattoos were particularly popular in England where sailors would get them as permanent souvenirs of their travels (www.tattoos-the.com).
Tattoos have been around for thousands of years. They have been found in 3,000 years old Egyptian mummies. They are sported in designs of all kinds, plain, elaborate, colorful, almost always personal. Permanent once etched, they serve as amulets, status symbols, love emblems, adornments, and even signs of religious beliefs. Joann Fletcher, research fellow in the department of archaeology at the University of York in Britain, describes the history of tattoos and their cultural significance to people around the world, from the famous " Iceman," a 5,200-year-old frozen mummy, to today’s Maori. www.smithsonian.com1.
If you’re thinking about getting a tattoo, make sure you are up to date with your immunizations, and plans about where to go for medical care if your tattoo becomes infected.
Added to these, you have to take the precaution of consulting your doctor if you