Outside of the maternity ward and most elementary schools, you’re hard pressed to avoid encountering someone who has a meaningful message or memory inscribed in the form of a tattoo. While still ink-free, I am fascinated by the droves of people in my everyday circles who emblazon inspiration upon their bodies. And since I genuinely love people, I find myself drawn to their stories. I’m curious about their ink inscriptions, and the backstory behind each tattoo. From time to time, I hope to honor those people, and their unique stories, right here.

– Stories in Ink: 6.11.17
As members of a consumer society, we handle products everyday that are scanned and coded by category, size, production date, lot origination, and price. This series of lines and numbers is frequently referred to as a products UPC or bar code. 

Each product has its’ own unique set of thick and thin lines floating above a sequence of symbols and numbers. So while many products seem very similar, their codes identify how individual they are as well.

These codes are also used to take inventory in stores; to track manufacturing and shipping movement; and to tabulate the results of marketing efforts. They detail the life of a product, or in this case, the new life of an individual.
I ran across this smiling barista at a Starbucks near one of my favorite running trails. If you want to find some real interesting ink, hang out at a Starbucks. This particular barista, who I found to be friendly and focused with each of my visits, was wiping down tables when I spotted the unique bar code on his calf.

After inquiring, “Dave” (pseudonym) was happy to share his story. Apparently the code is a celebration of his new life. Fourteen years ago he had been stricken with cancer, (he’s rather young mind you), and he survived a successful bone marrow transplant, giving him a new lease on life.

Undoubtedly this was the most Unparalleled Precious Collection (UPC) of lines and numbers I’ve ever encountered. Kudos Dave. And cheers. My java never tasted better.