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Jim Hall / Blue Comma
March 21, 2013 2:45 AM   Subscribe

The second most tattooed man in the world. Jim Hall, a retired Baltimore city planner, very articulately discusses in this article and associated video how he has tattooed and modified himself into a work of art and personal sexual fantasy he calls Blue Comma.
posted by vegartanipla (30 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
What started out as a penis extension turned into three extra testicles...

I didn't even know these things were possible.
posted by double block and bleed at 3:33 AM on March 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


Looking at the picture of him standing in his kitchen, I could only think..."Man, that is one old refrigerator!".

He seems like a nice enough guy searching for who he is in this world. It's a shame that cultural expectations made him wait until he retired to really step out.
posted by HuronBob at 3:46 AM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


"He lived the stereotype of the urban idealist, convinced that the correct placement of buildings and streets can influence a city's fortunes"

dude was a city planner, and STILL has relevant plans after retiring - it seems awfully condescending to trivialize his career that way.
posted by MysticMCJ at 4:13 AM on March 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


These young Smurfs with their tattoos.
They'll be sorry when they get older.
posted by Mezentian at 4:24 AM on March 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


"I didn't have a life except my job," he says. "I didn't realize how total that was. My worth to the culture, to the world, was defined by what I did [for a living] for 35 years. Now I want to be rather than do."

three extra testicles aside... he pretty much won me there, freak or not.
posted by Mezentian at 4:29 AM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I didn't even know these things were possible.

It's all been all over the internet. Google "Grow some balls" and "Gain inches on your penis".
posted by springload at 4:32 AM on March 21, 2013


Somewhere Mr T is interested.
posted by Mezentian at 4:35 AM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, hon.
posted by From Bklyn at 4:59 AM on March 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, someone should do a FPP on Spider Webb. I remember coming across a book about his work, back in the late 80's. It wasn't my thing but he had an interesting role in the whole tattoo-as-transgression vibe that was at work at the time. (As tattooing was illegal in NYC then, and tattoos generally not looked favorably on).
posted by From Bklyn at 5:22 AM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Whenever I read "Gain inches on your penis" my next action is usually to hit the spam button.
posted by double block and bleed at 5:24 AM on March 21, 2013


I think Metafilter may have finally found a way to make my mind SNAP! with an audible sound with this post.

There are so many competing threads of thought boomeranging off the insides of my head when I read about this guy that the only smart thing to do is just go back to the front page and read something else.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 5:53 AM on March 21, 2013


Huh, I've never seen nor heard about this guy in my four years in Baltimore. Interesting article. Thanks for posting.
posted by josher71 at 6:26 AM on March 21, 2013


Am I blue? Am I blue?
Ain't these balls
in my groin telling you?
posted by octobersurprise at 7:04 AM on March 21, 2013


People don't ask me for many things but they get it anyway. Think this guy is the same. If you don't like it, don't look.
posted by josher71 at 7:09 AM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


[Hi, this is MetaFilter, we don't really do that "They're fat!" thing here in a thread about something totally different.]
posted by jessamyn at 7:15 AM on March 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


What a surprising person. Handsome older guy without the face tattoo. Nice comments under the article from people who know him.

Na, I'm not going to google "three extra testicles"...


"They're fat!"? Looks like it took a fair bit of surgery to get those hips - now that's something I didn't know could be done.
posted by glasseyes at 7:25 AM on March 21, 2013


For some reason, my thoughts keep settling on the phrase "What a beautiful person." It's not even about the tattoo. His thoughtfulness, his openness, his understanding of himself is so striking.

I think of some of the older gay men I know who have dedicated their lives to other pursuits such as classical music. I perceive (correctly or incorrectly) the same deep sense of building a private life on one's own terms, often in tandem with a feeling of being set apart from the rest of the world -- that their most meaningful interactions take place far away from public view. It makes me so sad to think of what we've lost as a society because of such deeply closeted emotions: shutting off so much more than just open affection.

So my heart goes out to Jim Hall for having the courage to not just be himself -- he didn't really have a choice there -- but to share it openly. I really don't get the sense that he's an exhibitionist so much as (as he describes) seeking a very particular kind of connection with other people. Being able to find those intensely meaningful connections is a real achievement for anyone.
posted by Madamina at 7:37 AM on March 21, 2013 [12 favorites]


I used to pal around with the Enigma and Katzen back when they were still a couple. I loved people's reactions when we'd do something as mundane as pull up to a drive-thru window at a Taco Bell.
posted by item at 7:41 AM on March 21, 2013


I think of some of the older gay men I know who have dedicated their lives to other pursuits such as classical music. I perceive (correctly or incorrectly) the same deep sense of building a private life on one's own terms, often in tandem with a feeling of being set apart from the rest of the world -- that their most meaningful interactions take place far away from public view.

Oy, Madamina. I was reading this article and thinking about how sorry I felt for this guy and how I just couldn't understand his... obsession... and then you described me above and I realized I understand exactly how he feels and what he's doing. Now I'm a little more than embarrassed because I suspect that my instant revulsion and pity at his pursuits speak more about my feelings about myself than they do about him.
posted by jph at 8:40 AM on March 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


I've always been amused by folks who lose their shit over tattoo projects like this - 'it's permanent! why would you do that? you can never go back!'... it really belies a deep-seated fear that pervades most aspects of the speaker's life. They can't imagine making a decision that won't be regretted later on. Stepping into unknown territory without the ability to run back if it's too much. It feels like an expression of pathological self-doubt much more than a critique on the person with the tattoos.
posted by FatherDagon at 9:53 AM on March 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


That was a very moving article/ video - hall is so thoughtful, open, and honest - I can't help but be proud of him.

For myself, I find the images of him looking like a regular guy in his 60's with a full-body tattoo to be beautiful - but I can't help but be squeamish about the implants (especially the genital ones). I guess the chest and buttocks implants give him a more feminine shape, which I can see the aesthetic attraction of even though I think he was beautiful just as a man.

As an optimist, the most beautiful part of this is the courage to take one of his personal idiosyncracies and be brave enough to show the world - and talk so honestly about it - I imagine we all have things we hide from the world the saw way hall covered his tattoos while he was working - and it is only his freedom from needing to fit into a societally accepted image that gives him the freedom to be so brave.
posted by ianhattwick at 10:18 AM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]



I've always been amused by folks who lose their shit over tattoo projects like this - 'it's permanent! why would you do that? you can never go back!'... it really belies a deep-seated fear that pervades most aspects of the speaker's life. They can't imagine making a decision that won't be regretted later on. Stepping into unknown territory without the ability to run back if it's too much. It feels like an expression of pathological self-doubt much more than a critique on the person with the tattoos.


Eric "the Lizardman" Sprague speaks to this very well in his FAQ:
What about when you are older? What if you regret it?
My work has been done by some of the best and the design has good potential for aging. Given the risks I take professionally I will be more than happy to live long enough to become a wrinkled and faded old Lizardman. Regret is always a possibility for everyone, you could say the same to someone joining the army or going to law school. I have done my best to consider and plan for the eventualities that could cause me to regret my decisions - further, in fact, than many people I know went in considering far larger decisions like having children. I do not think that I will regret this; if I did I would not have done it.
I think both Blue Comma and the Lizardman both share an intelligent view of what they're choosing for their bodies, and what it does for their minds as a result, and particularly admire Blue Comma's spiritual aspect to it. Another commonality is that they both seem like really, really affable people. We did meet the Lizardman at a tattoo convention many years ago, and were glad to buy a picture to support his living doing this - he was really nice, and handled our curiosity with grace.

That Blue Comma can live on his pension is wonderful. I also hope that he can live long and have many happy years in this incarnation. It is such a shame that so many people, for whatever reasons, have to push what they hope to be the best part of their lives to their retirement age - because some never get there and many can't live well once they do.
posted by peagood at 11:07 AM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


They can't imagine making a decision that won't be regretted later on.

Hell, I've never made a decision that I didn't (to some degree) regret and I can't imagine making one in the future that I won't. That said, I got no beef with tattoos, Tattoo, or Mr. Comma. Fly high your freak flag, says I.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:34 AM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


He blue himself
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:09 PM on March 21, 2013


"What started out as a penis extension turned into three extra testicles"

I certainly hope he sued for malpractice.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:47 PM on March 21, 2013


Can he still fit into skinny jeans with the additional testicles?
posted by rcraniac at 2:44 PM on March 21, 2013


Hah! I'm so forgetful. Just last month, we were at Ripley's Believe it or Not museum in Niagara Falls, and my kid got to revisit the Lizardman - in statue form. She was interested in that mostly because though she doesn't remember her actual meeting, he's in one of her Ripley's books -- and she's since learned it's rude to stare at people, even those who invite stares with their creative expression. All in all, though, she's mostly curious about when she'll bump into his visage again. I would feel this way about living in the same city as someone like Blue Comma - it would be really cool to just have such an interesting person become a part of the social fabric.
posted by peagood at 8:45 PM on March 21, 2013


rcraniac, the man has five testicles. His pants fit like a glove.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:35 PM on March 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


Wow. More power to him. Thanks for posting this, vegartanipla.
posted by homunculus at 4:29 PM on March 22, 2013


josher71 and homunculus, it was my pleasure. I really admire how self-aware and honest Blue Comma is and I'm glad he's found and been able to follow a path that feels right for him.
posted by vegartanipla at 4:07 PM on March 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


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