Many animal tattoos have different meanings other than just a simple picture. The penguin has a few different meanings; above all it symbolizes strong bonds. Penguins are very caring and strong willed and will do anything for the family. They survive and even thrive in a thoroughly hostile environment.
In our own small family, in spite of separation and divorce, bonds of loyalty and affection remain firm. Mickey, too, wants a penguin tatt and had I flesh less feeble I’d probably go for one as well.
But our penguin story has its origins in pure whimsicality. Shortly after Mickey and I first met in Paris, an evening stroll took us through the Place de la Concorde where she remarked on the profusion of pigeons. Her English pronunciation in those days was less than perfect and it was the hard ‘g’ that triggered my silly flight of fancy, my suggestion that we should imagine not the urban scavengers, winged vermin, but instead a huge flock of proud penguins. It so happened that a while later in a shopping arcade on the Champs-Elysées we spotted a big plush toy in the form of a King Penguin which, of course, had to be purchased. [It stands today, not too much the worse for wear after well over thirty years, inside the door to my flat!]
So that’s the back-story, I guess. There’s a penguin pin in the lapel of the jacket I wore yesterday, and now Jessi has an inking on her ankle to perpetuate the tradition of a family which is not as dysfunctional as it might be… a tradition which is, I find, not without a certain charm.