My dad was a Vietnam vet who was shot twice in the leg on his first day of service at the age of 18. Despite being severely injured, he managed to single-handedly dismantle an enemy tank, killing seven bogies in the process, and thereby saving his entire unit from annihilation. His battalion was nicknamed “Silverbacks,” so that’s where the gorilla came from.
A few days later, after having his leg amputated, he was smoking a cigar in a small village when a female POW approached him. He shared his cigar, and the two discussed the merits and pitfalls of the war, along with their hopes and dreams for the future. He always dreamed of becoming an English teacher, while she just wanted to live the simple life of a housewife. The two were destined for one another, and it all began with that cigar.
Two years ago, my dad, who, as a retiree, became the first player ever to achieve a perfect score in the Veteran Amputee Bowling League (VABL). I wanted to incorporate a more lighthearted message into the tattoo, so I used the “bowler” pun to include the hat.
I got the tattoo to honor my father, Sgt. Leopold Jacob McGuthery, who died 2 months ago when he was struck by a minivan as he left Blockbuster.