Have you ever peered off the edge of a ship into the deep blue, knowing that miles of cold salt and massive creatures leftover from a previous age lie between you and earth’s crust? We have.
And that’s one reason why we identify so strongly with the deep-sea divers of old.
There’s something incredibly evocative about the anonymous diver helmet of the early 20th century. One story goes that, when Salvador Dali went to give a lecture in New York in the ’30s, he thought he would add a little ironic spice to his performance by delivering it in a full on old school lead and glass diving suit. Some friends got him into it and attached everything in place. Dali strode out and sat down.
No one, of course, could hear a thing. When he began waving his arms and beating his helmet, spectators just thought it was yet another twist in this strange soiree. He eventually collapsed and aids jumped to get him out of the suit. When he emerged he was blue, and a doctor had to be called to resuscitate him. His friends had sealed the suit completely, but failed to attach any oxygen to it.
Those who wear the diving helmet tattoo regard the world through panes of glaze. They are watchers; they move slowly and meticulously, studying everything that swims their way, overturning every rock.