THE FADED tattoo on Michael Chitwood's bicep looks like a shirtless version of the Bob's Big Boy mascot with the words "Get 'em up" written underneath.

The 67-year-old Upper Darby police superintendent was 18 and still living with his parents in South Philly when he went with a group of guys to Sailor Eddy's in New Jersey and picked the figure - a fighter - to be permanently emblazoned on his arm because he was "a wiseguy, a half-ass fighter" who fooled around at a local gym.

He knew it wouldn't fly with his father, a man who managed to get through 25 years in the Navy without a tattoo, so he decided he'd just wear long-sleeved shirts.

"But it was August and it was freaking hot," so he took the shirt off to sleep, he said. He heard his father walk up the stairs to wake him the next morning for his chores but didn't have time to put a shirt back on.

While he was pretending to be asleep, his father came, pulled back the gauze on his arm and then stormed downstairs.

"I heard him say to my mother, 'That son of a bitch!' " Chitwood said. "When she asked him what it was, he said, 'Some kind of weird man thing or something.'

"I heard my mother say, 'Oh, my God! I hope it doesn't say "Mom!" ' "

When his dad came back to question him, Chitwood told his father that the tattoo was of a fighter.

" 'You think you're a tough guy, huh? Fight me,' " Chitwood's dad said. "I told him I wasn't going to fight him, and he punched me in the face and knocked me to the floor."