"They go through meat, don't they? Now go get my mouthwash so we can sterilize this."
Lindsay describes her old duties at a Claire's as "about the same amount of work as stapling papers, only with more screaming." Now, in her big-girl establishment, she often has to explain the quasi-mystical concept of "infections" to walking examples of bad judgment. If your mom ever told you about getting her ears pierced by a friend wielding an ice cube and a safety pin, she'll be thrilled to hear that those days aren't gone.
Lindsay says, "I had one girl, about 15, who had this giant hole that was still infected. I jokingly asked, 'What did you use? A thumbtack and rubbing alcohol?' She sat up and said, 'Yeah, how did you know?' Her earlobe is probably permanently bulged."
Which, to be fair, is totes punk.
Lindsay now has an intimate knowledge of anatomy. "Since pros pierce anywhere, we need to know if we are about to touch a nerve or punch out a blood vessel. When I was trained, it took a year. I would mark where I wanted to pierce and the person training me would say something like, 'That's a major vessel.' It was like a graphic version of Operation."
She also deals with good old-fashioned regret, because sometimes getting 17 skull piercings and insisting that all your friends call you Pinhead doesn't have lasting appeal. "I'd say about every fourth person is coming in for a piercing to be removed. Many are college kids who went down to Mexico, got one, then regretted it," she says.
"It keeps letting the light in when I'm trying to sleep."