(Copyright 2002. The Tattoo. All rights reserved.)

Making a permanent impression since 1994

July 29, 2002

-- Who's Who in The Tattoo -

Flashback: Joe Wilbur

A baldy but a goodie

By Joe Wilbur

"I cannot call to mind a single instance where I have ever been irreverent, except toward the things which were sacred to other people." - Mark Twain, author and journalist

When I joined The Tattoo I thought my writing could make people laugh long enough that they’d forget to ask anything more of me. Turned out I wasn’t that funny.

In the first piece of any substance I wrote, a Tattoo colleague and I made fun of the town’s teen beauty queens and got hate mail for weeks. In the second I was told to watch my language by an English teacher at my high school.

I wrote a lot about music and politics — which will almost always get you in trouble. But it seemed I ticked people off even when I was writing about school plays and doing movie reviews.

The Tattoo’s writers and advisors taught me that making peoples’ teeth grind isn’t always a bad thing — it means you’ve gotten under someone’s skin and maybe even made them think.

A box full of awards and a few thousand dollars in scholarship money later, I was running my college newspaper and paying the bills writing for daily newspapers.

Under my bed I keep a small box of "thank you" notes from people who’ve enjoyed my writing and found it worthwhile. My box of hate mail and death threats is so large I have to keep it in the closet.

I love them equally and wouldn’t have either without The Tattoo.

Joe Wilbur.


Wilbur is a junior at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He had hair when he wrote for The Tattoo from 1997-2000. He spent this summer as a staff writer for The Bristol Press and is a contributor to The Greensboro News and Record. He is also the editor of The Carolinian, his college's newspaper.


Click on the links below to read the stories, columns and reviews that Joe Wilbur wrote for The Tattoo.

Standing in line and strutting their stuff

June 16, 2001

Don't get lost in the system

September 11, 2000

Everything you ever wanted to know ... about girls

September 11, 2000

Soggy and sullen, waiting for the bus

September 4, 2000

Clique your heels: there's no place like high school

August 28, 2000

It's not what you know, kid, it's all about who you know

August 21, 2000

The Tragically Hip burst at the seams

August 14, 2000

Diversity needed in English texts

April 10, 2000

New laws to hit teen drivers

April 10, 2000

True punk is back

November 15, 1999

I'd like to help you son, but you're too young to vote

October 25, 1999

Werner supports city youth center

October 25, 1999

Something fishy en route to lunch

May 31, 1999

Could new safety plan be dangerous?

May 17, 1999

Bristol chief: More cops not the answer

May 17, 1999

Two students learn 'threats' no joking matter

May 8, 1999

Crash victim mirrors mortality

April 5, 1999

When punk and Big Band clash

April 5, 1999

Can you say 'smoke and fumes' in Italian?

March 29, 1999

Perfume, puddles and Whitman's sexuality

March 15, 1999

Bristol Eastern: Students encouraged to read for enjoyment

March 4, 1999

Eastern students take aim at cop's gun

Feb. 15, 1999

Shivering teens get the cold shoulder

Feb. 15, 1999

School board grapples with poor test scores

Nov. 8, 1998

New librarian speaks volumes

Nov. 8, 1998

Ringside at the congressional catfight

Nov. 1, 1998

Horrors! It's the real thing

Oct. 26, 1998

Is the sky falling? No, it's just the construction

Oct. 26, 1998

Supply shortage paints art teachers into a corner

Oct. 19, 1998

Construction: the land of Oz

Oct. 19, 1998

Vampire hot spots and a big smooch

Oct. 12, 1998

Life Under Construction

Oct. 12, 1998

Our schools are a construction zone

Oct. 5, 1998

Paying lip service to presidential politics

Sept. 28, 1998

Sex and laughs in Eastern play

Sept. 28, 1998

Miss Mum: much ado about nothing

Sept. 28, 1998

English teachers are on a roll

Sept. 21, 1998

Life Under Construction

Sept. 21, 1998

Boys in dresses flirt with school rules

April 27, 1998

A senseless death

October 7, 1997

Howdy, y'all

July 14, 1997

Hate has no place

June 23, 1997