My two centsIn 1992, I had my lip pierced. This was a bad idea for someone with an oral fixation. My lower lip was pierced (off to the left side) and I couldn't help but play with it. My tongue was always sticking out rolling the ring back and forth, back and forth.... sometimes people felt it was difficult to talk to me.
My friends with lip or tongue piercings do the same thing. They can't help it. And I now see how I used to annoy people. I find myself staring at their tongues wanting to stick my fingers in there and rip it off.
I too, am with Pete on the importance of piercings or other body mod. For fashion purposes, that is just silly. I now have my septum pierced and will be getting my nostrils re-pierced (they fell out... again). They are for religious reasons. Back in my punk days, the lip ring, while it wasn't religious, it was symbolic to me in a very personal way. All my tattoos are religious (the body markings of my sect, etc.) and have very deep meaning for me.
On a more practical note, good luck trying to get a good job. Even if you can find a job with a tongue piercing, opportunities will pass you by as well. BIg hotels will not hire you. I told the Executive Chef at The Marriot my nose piercing was for religious reasons and he did not care a bit. He said if I wanted to work there, I would have to take it out. No facial piercings are allowed at all b/c it is unprofessional. I found out I didn't want to work there anyway b/c they didn't make anything from scratch (not much of an experience for an extern at the time), but had I wanted the job, I would have had to kiss the piercing goodbye. I work at a bakery now (PT) and have to wear a septum retainer for work. Anyone who comes in with a facial piercing and fills out an application- into the trash it goes. These people have no idea why they aren't called back. That if they simply removed the labret out of their chins, they would have gotten the job. I know several other places as well who don't hire people with piercings or visible tattoos. So yes, you can take your tongue piercing out, but why bother putting it in? It's not cheap to put that piece of metal there and it's not a piercing you can take out and put back in as they close up very quickly. My lip closed in a matter of hours; friends' tongues have closed up in a similar amount of time even after complete healed and having the piercing for over a year; a large gauge shrank considerably and was still open, but I doubt you want an 8 gauge in your tongue anyway.