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Northeast Philly man’s Gritty butt tattoo is a fitting tribute to Flyers’ new mascot | Jenice Armstrong

James Kirn's tattoo of Gritty's face covers practically his whole left cheek.

Gritty, the Flyers new mascot, walks through the crowd during the Flyers' home opener at the Wells Fargo Center last month.
Gritty, the Flyers new mascot, walks through the crowd during the Flyers' home opener at the Wells Fargo Center last month.Read moreOctoberTOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer

Someday, perhaps in the distant future, James Kirn may regret his decision to get a tattoo of Gritty's face on his rear end.

Maybe after he has gained weight. Or maybe it won't be until  the bright orange fur on the Flyers' new mascot has matted and dulled, and Gritty has been relegated to a forgotten closet in a Flyers back office at the Wells Fargo Center. That's a long way off, though, especially since Gritty, who debuted at the Flyers' season opener last month, is the most talked-about mascot in sports. He's our new orange crush. Antifa memes be damned. 

Kirn's tattoo covers practically the whole left side of his rear. He's not shy about showing it off, either — although we've chosen not to publish a photo of his bare butt.

"Most people find it hilarious," said Kirn, 25, who lives in the Northeast.   " I just never expected it to go this far. I did it as a joke."

The IBEW apprentice got the idea from a friend who was going to get one as well. But on the appointed day two weeks ago, Kirn's buddy backed out. So, Kirn went by himself to Inkwell 215 Custom Tattoo Studio on Frankford Avenue, where an artist took nearly three hours to create the Gritty image he wanted. It cost Kirn $300, and he doesn't regret a penny of it.

"Once I was committed, it was happening," said Kirn, whose arms also are covered with tattoos. "I think it turned out great."

Vice Sports recently wrote about Kirn's latest tattoo. Kirn is convinced that his decision to get Gritty inked on his posterior is a fitting tribute to Philly's newest mascot, who, according to the Flyers, until recently had been hiding somewhere inside the Wells Fargo Center. His father reportedly was a bully, which accounts for why Gritty is so feisty.

I didn't get Gritty's appeal at first.

Like a lot of folks, I was at first appalled at the sight of this shaggy, oversize creature with the blank, googly eyes. It felt as if he had been sprung on us out of nowhere. He seemed like just another bad marketing gimmick. But then, he made like Miley Cyrus and came in on that wrecking ball to the Flyers' season opener, and I laughed. Same as I did when I learned about Kirn's decision to get his butt tattoo. We don't laugh enough.

With the high-stakes midterm elections taking place Tuesday, my Facebook feed has been filled with political rants and jawboning from even my nonpolitical friends.The thing is, everybody's dug in no matter what side they're on.  There are lots of discussions taking place, but I'm not sure any minds are being changed.

At a time when so many things separate us — politics, race, class — Gritty unites us. He's one of the few things we as a city can agree on. He's scary-looking. He's ridiculous. But he's lovable, too.

And as Kirn's epic butt tattoo reminds us, he's ours.