William Hill, the acclaimed tattooist and designer of Roseville’s outgoing mail-cancellation mark, is better known to his friends and clients as Wild Bill. He was a bit of a hell-raiser in his early days. At 14, Bill built his first tattoo machine and began experimenting with it on himself. His first project, he said, was a girl’s name; his second was a design to cover it up. He has had some life experience. Wild Bill is a man who decided to give up drinking a full year before he reached the legal drinking age.
It’s good to know his hands will be steady on Saturday, when, beginning at 8 a.m., Bill and nine of his fellow artists will undertake 16 straight hours of tattooing for the fifth annual Wild Bill’s Tattoo-a-thon, a benefit fund-raiser conceived by his wife, Kim. They will donate all of the day’s revenue to the UC Davis Children’s Hospital, which cares for tens of thousands of kids every year.
Last year’s Tattoo-a-thon raised $11,720. “This year,” Bill said, “we are going to try our best to top that.” Since the ’thon began, the Wild Bill’s staff has raised more than $31,000 for the hospital, officially proving that in certain circumstances, tattoos can be very good for children.
Childhood, remember, is a time in which to feel invincible. Everyone deserves to be healthy and happy in his or her youth—free, as Bill was, to misspend it. So, for the children’s sake, think about getting some ink. Tattoos start at $50. Gift certificates are available. But if you really want to live, show up at a quarter before midnight when everyone’s really punchy and ask them just to improvise. Wild Bill’s is at 205 Vernon Street in Roseville. Call (916) 783-9090 or visit www.wild-bills.com for more information.