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Learning From Mistakes: Ben Wicks’ Artful Reminders

Ryan Matlack/The Student

Dave Seronick

Staff Writer

We were all young at one point in our lives.  Being young entails a care-free spirit and not placing too much emphasis on the future.  That type of attitude is often accompanied by rash decisions, something SC senior Ben Wicks is a prime example of.  However, that is not to say that we cannot learn from our mistakes, another thing Wicks exemplifies.

For Wicks it started on Easter in 2007.  While in Maryland visiting his family, the Wicks’decided to go to a tattoo parlor.  Since his entire family went, Wicks decided he too wanted to get inked.  After his aunt and cousin got tattooed, Wicks was up next.  About one hour and $75 later Wicks had “Vires” going down his left shoulder blade.

“Vires means strength in Latin,” said Wicks.  “Looking back on it, it was a bit rash to get it.  I don’t regret it, [I] just wish I had put more time into thinking about it.”

Wicks got the opportunity he had wanted, taking the subsequent year to think about his next tattoo.  After applying the proper time to figure it out, Wicks knew just what he wanted.

During the summer of 2008 while in New York, Wicks walked into Da Vinci Tattoo on Long Island.  A few hours after entering Da Vinci Tattoo and spending $200, Wicks had redeemed his first tattoo.  He did this by getting one of the more interesting tattoos on his body.  This tattoo, located on his right arm, is a Catholic cross intersected with the Star of David.  Wicks claims this tattoo derived from his upbringing.

“My dad is Catholic and my mom is Jewish,” said Wicks.  “I was brought up following both religions, and they are both equally important to me.”

Yet, Wicks was not even halfway through with his tattoos.  Only a few months into his freshman year at SC, Wicks drove down Island Pond Road in Springfield, and stopped at Tattoo Royale.  Sticking with the theme of family, Wicks got a crest tattooed on his upper back.  Though Wicks admits the crest itself has nothing to do with his family, the quote inside the crest is from his family’s crest.  The crest, in Latin, reads “Cari deo nihilo carent.”   In English, it translates to “Those dear to God want nothing.”  Like his cross and star tattoo, this one cost Wicks $200, and was worth every penny.

Unfortunately, following the crest tattoo Wicks suffered a miniature relapse of rash decision making.  Although not as severe or permanent (because this one fades within a few years) as his “Vires” tattoo, it was nevertheless a careless decision.

Back at Springfield during February of 2010, Wicks once again entered Tattoo Royale.  Upon leaving the parlor, Wicks was $60 poorer, but the tattoo was nowhere to be seen.  This perhaps was the only logical decision Wicks claims he made when deciding to get his fourth tattoo.  Not seen by many, inside of Wicks’ lip reads “true love.”  Though Wicks states he got this tattoo because he believes in it wholeheartedly, he admits “it was kind of a spur-of-the-moment type thing.”

Wicks’ lip tattoo also remains the only tattoo he has kept secret from his family.  Although not opposed to tattoos themselves, Wicks’ mother told him that if he ever got a tattoo on the inside of his lip he “would never be allowed back in the house.”  Until this day, both of Wicks’ parents remain unaware of his inner-lip tattoo.

Yet, once again proving he is capable of learning from his mistakes, Wicks got one more tattoo. Returning to Long Island, but this time going to Kings Tattoo, Wicks reverted back to the idea of a family-oriented tattoo.  Placed on his left rib cage, Wicks has a red rose.  Wicks’ only colored and self-designed tattoo represents his mother’s last name, Rose.  Being a very important person in his life, Wicks felt the need to express it through ink.

With five tattoos down, it is no surprise that he is not done yet.

“I absolutely want more tattoos,” said Wicks.  “It is just money is an issue, but once that is situated, I am getting more.”

Showing once again that he knows that time and effort go into something as permanent as a tattoo, Wicks already has some ideas in the woodwork.

Upon acquiring the necessary funds, Wicks would love to add onto his rose tattoo.   Going through the rose, Wicks wishes to have his mother’s first or full name.  In addition to adding onto his rose tattoo, Wicks desires to get a tattoo for his father.  Equally as important to him as his mother, Wicks feels that a tattoo for his father would highly compliment his rose tattoo.

To some, Wicks’ tattoos may just seem like $780 of ink.  However, to him they are so much more. They are reminders.  Reminders that no matter what mistakes he has or possibly will make throughout his life, he can always learn from them.

Dave Seronick can be reached at

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