Following through on “Pay Attention”

In my blog post on March 25, I mentioned that I wanted to get “Pay Attention” tattooed on my right forearm as a reminder to myself to do just that: pay attention.  Well, today I followed through, and you can see the pic below.  The tattoo is about two hours old, so very fresh.

The idea for this tattoo initially came about last October when that rash of suicides gained national media attention, with the most disturbing one (for me) being the death of Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi after he jumped from the George Washington Bridge.  You probably know the story, so I won’t retell it, but suffice it to say, I became very aware of the responsibilities that we all have to pay attention so these kinds oftragedies can be avoided.  In particular, teachers and professors have a responsibility to know what’s happening in their classrooms, meaning that if bullying or harassment is happening to anyone, that teacher or professor better find a way to intervene on behalf of the bullied or harassed.  I work very hard to be vigilante and be that kind of professor, but this reminder on my right arm won’t hurt.

I also realized, maybe too late, that every time I extend my hand out to greet someone, there’s a high probability that the person will see these words.  That’s a byproduct of this location choice, but hopefully it’s met with the spirit in which it’s intended.