First, a little background: in my novel, The True Meaning of Smekday, there is a kind of alien livestock called the koobish. Here are a couple of them in a photo with one of the story’s protagonists, J.Lo:
|Their favorite food is chlorine.|
I’d like to explain how the koobish came to be, and to do that I first have to tell you about a very bad tattoo I got back in 1991.
I was eighteen, and away at college, and four of us decided on a whim to get tattoos. What, you may be thinking, could possibly go wrong. If memory serves I believe Liza got a Tazmanian Devil. Kim got some sort of dolphin/rainbow/Earth combo. I can’t remember what Brad got, but based on these previous choices I’m going to go ahead and guess it was the Chinese character for “stupid.”
I had begun writing a bit at this point, and I fancied myself something of a humorist, so I got a jester on my ankle. Like so:
|I was not drunk.|
I don’t think I’m giving away too much at this point in the story if I tell you I no longer have this tattoo, but that sketch above is how it looked to the best of my recollection. Like Bea Arthur. I didn’t even draw the original design myself. I picked it off the parlor wall. I was an art student AND I PICKED MY TATTOO OFF THE PARLOR WALL.
Anyway, years passed. I quickly grew to hate the tattoo, but it was on my ankle, and I almost always wear socks, and literally months could pass where I didn’t think about it at all. It was so inconspicuous that I dated my wife for a whole summer before she noticed it was there. We managed to pull through and it only made us stronger as a couple.
Eventually I realized that while I would never pay to have it removed, it might be worth one or two hundred bucks to get it covered up with something else. So I designed this little fellow:
I liked it, and I named it the koobish. And it occurred to me that I’d like it even better if it had some actual significance, so I wrote it into the novel I was working on.
Next year Smekday is going to be a Dreamworks movie. They’re just amping up animation right now; but I’ve seen the entire movie as a black-and-white animatic, and among the changes the’ve made to the original story is the omission of any koobishes. I asked if there was still any chance they might pop up in a background somewhere, and the director wouldn’t rule it out.
I’m really hoping they make it in there, and that the koobish becomes the first tattoo to grace a major animated feature since Walt Disney asked for a “pretty lady Donald” on his lower back in 1940.