OPINION: How often do you look at someone and make an instantaneous judgement about them based on what you see?
What if what you see is a homemade prison tattoo covering the bottom half of their face?
Mark Cropp is on the receiving end of this, thanks to a stencil-style tattoo from ear to ear saying 'DEVAST8', which is apparently his street name.
The tattoo has been proving a stumbling block to his employment prospects. He says he was "over people judging for my facial tattoo" and wants people to view him as "just a normal human being."
Great in theory Mark, but short on practicality. It's a bit hard to think of you as anything else but a survival system for a bad, bad tat.
If you can look past the tat, look past the prison record, look past the alcohol and drug addiction issues, look past the exceptionally poor judgement in the past, then yes, you might just be able to give Mark a chance.
My suggestion is rather than hope that all of society can see past the tat, he should avail himself of the help Corrections offers prisoners to remove tattoos.
Yet he's declined this service twice, Corrections says. Why? Saying "it's part of who I am" hardly seems to fly.
Mark says he decided to get the tattoo as a counter to prison bullying. Yes – surprise, surprise, he had the tattoo done while inside.
He was doing two years for aggravated assault and - here's an even bigger surprise - he decided on the size of the tattoo while wasted on homebrew in prison.
So if you fancy getting drunk and getting a free tattoo all you have to do is go to jail.
So what should become of Mark Cropp? Has he got any right to have a gripe about his tattoo holding him back? He seems genuinely surprised that he hasn't been able to get work and wants people to think of him as more than just a facial tattoo.
Mark, remove the problem or continue being a curiosity.
Or grow a beard…
Mark Sainsbury hosts Morning Talk from 9am-midday on RadioLIVE.