Eric Hinske, former American League Rookie of the Year, made headlines (with a small-H) this week when he unveiled a rather large back piece of Japanese inspiration. Unsurprisingly, this reveal provoked a great deal of snark in the usually informed and slow-to-judge Internet world.
Probably my least favorite insult of all time was lobbed towards the now-heavily tattooed Hinske; the old "he's going to look stupid when he's 60/he'll regret that in a few years" line of lazy attack. To them I say the same thing Eric Hinske is saying with his choice of skin decoration: fuck you.
Eric Hinske is rich. Really fucking rich. He may not be A-Rod or Vernon Wells rich, but he's still wildly, wildly wealthy. Beyond both my comprehension and yours. Eric Hinske's earned in upwards of $17 million dollars over his baseball career, spanning better than 8 seasons. That's Fuck You money no matter how you look at it. All he had to do to get it was excel at vocation in which competition is so stiff, so dependent on one or two individual performances in the moment with no margin for error. Not to mention the ongoing war of attrition with his joints and tendons. An athlete like Hinkse has likely forsaken friends, family, commitments and a stable home life in pursuit of his dream to play professional baseball.
Now, with 8 years of service time, he has a new pursuit. The Pension.
If Eric Hinkse reaches 10 years of service time, he's set. He can retire back to Wisconsin or Chicago or somewhere else in fly-over country and do fuck-all. He can work as the defensive line coach at the high school down the street or he can sit on his porch and watch the checks roll in.
So while it's easy to point at Hinske's potentially regrettable tattoos and laugh, think about what you'll look like when you're 60. A lifetime working, making somebody else an extra 2% on their annual bottom line in hopes that you can get your bonus and buy a boat. Or a cottage. Or a motorcycle. Or a trip to Belize. Eric Hinske can do that shit tomorrow with the change in his couch.
Think his tattoo might look stupid if he puts on an extra 25 pounds? When you put on that extra weight, you're just another fat guy. He's former Major Leaguer Eric Hinske, former Rookie of the Year, two-time World Series Champ. The flat ass you accrued through 30 years of sitting in a stiff office chair and fighting your way through traffic every day? The stress of meeting arbitrary deadline X for new douchebag boss Y? Eric Hinkse will laugh in your sagging, wrinkled, browbeaten face.
Eric Hinske chose to cover his back with a warrior of some description. Maybe that's how Hinske sees himself? He needs to fight back the snakes, the young up-and-comers standing between him and his 10 year pension. Maybe he didn't think it through past "whoa, that looks badass." Either way, Eric Hinske sat in a chair for 40-odd hours and inscribed something into his skin. He paid $5000 for the honor. Just about the exact amount of time most people reading this spent at work this week. Coordinating Outlook schedules. Pouring over spreadsheets. Dealing with rude or snotty customers. Resizing images or revising color schemes to "match the client's vision." Writing game stories on a 20 minute deadline. Chances are you're not paid $5000 bucks to do it. Now who's laughing?
Image via Matt T & the AJC.