Tattooing in the Name of Geekdom

Once again I take a stab at talking tattoos.  I know this post won’t be the same as the original post I wrote that got deleted, but I never plan any of my writing, as I need to make sure that I surprise myself frequently, otherwise I lose interest.  Anyway, here’s the question, thanks to everyone’s favorite Sarah:

Dear Mr. Dungeon Master,

In the past year, I’ve gone from thinking I’d never get a tattoo to getting two of them (both of which I love). What’s your take on ink? Would you recommend it to other fellow geeks? Any regrets about designs you’ve gotten?

Your friend,

I love tattoos.  This I can say with certainty.  I have only three (or four depending on how you count them).  That’s not because I don’t want more, but because I’m too poor and haven’t yet befriended any awesome tattoo artists.  I have an ongoing list of future tattoos in my mind, all of which (hopefully) will get done at some point.

None of my current tattoos come with any regret.  People get tattoos for a lot of different reasons.  Some people do it for decoration, some for the experience itself, others for the culture, and some people do it because of the meaning held by a particular tattoo.  For me tattoos are eternal reminders.  They are memory.  They are meaning.  They are something of such great importance that I will unabashedly make them a permanent part of myself for all to see (if I’m on the beach or something).

As far as I can tell, there are only a few reasons you can ever regret a tattoo.  These reasons probably started with too much alcohol, or a homemade needle in your friends basement when you were sixteen and thought Bart Simpson was awesome (no disrespect to anyone who still loves their Bart Simpson tattoo). 

If you take a tattoo lightly, you may very well regret it.  If your tattoo holds meaning for you, and you’ve thought about it, and you’ve really fallen in love with it, the only possible way I can see regret entering the scenario is if you end up hating who you were when you got tattooed.  And if that’s the case, you have bigger problems than your dumb tattoo.  (Though, do make sure you go to reputable tattoo parlors, because you can very well have a great tattoo idea poorly executed, and that totally sucks.)

The main point here is not to let your worries rule you (in life and tattooing).  Don’t think about who you’ll be in 2o or 3o years.  Don’t think about your grandchildren (because they’ll probably have tattoos as well), and don’t think about co-workers or in-laws.  A tattoo is the ultimate form of dedication to something, and that’s personal.  No one else involved.  At all.

These were my very first tattoos, done at the same time (I never know if I should count them as 1 or 2 tattoos):

Note the way my manly man hair accentuates the lettering.

These are very serious tattoos because they allow me entrance into the Cool Kids Latin Tattoo Club.  As mentioned in last week’s post, they are both a direct reflection of my ideas surrounding duality and life and death.  The top one (left arm) means “Immortal”, while the right arm means “Remember you must die”. 

For me the right is a reminder of mortality as well as the dead, while the left arm emphasizes the fact that nothing can ever destroy me (or anything for that matter) completely.  We all get recycled in the end.  Also though, I happen to be immortal, but it’s more of the Highlander kind of immortality, where I can still get my head cut off, so I like to remind myself of that so I don’t get too brash and reckless.

That’s my left wrist (the Immortal side), and it is the Greek letter phi, which is used to denote the Golden Ratio (1.618…) in mathematics.  I won’t go into a discussion of the Golden Ratio here, but the main point is that it’s an irrational number that defines beauty for the human brain.  Art and Architecture created using the Golden Ratio are more aesthetically pleasing to the eye.  It is also related to the Fibonacci Sequence and the Golden Spiral.

And of course, here is my prerequisite Geek tattoo (that’s my right shoulder, my Mac takes terrible pictures):

I’m slowly building my right side into chaos, death and destruction, while my left side will be rationality, life, and creation.  Very soon I will be adding a d20 to my right wrist.

Which brings me to my next point.  I think every Geek should get tattooed.  I’ve said before that Geeks have obsessive tendencies, there’s no denying it, and there is no more powerful way to proclaim your undying devotion to something than with a tattoo.  The tattoo is the height of obsession.  The tattoo is the height of Geekdom.

So go get inked, and tell them the Dungeon Master sent you.

Please submit more questions! 

If you wish to submit a question to the Dungeon Master, please e-mail them to, or you can Tweet me a question @AskthedDM. And make sure to review the disclaimer.

You can also see me in action in One Die Short.

This entry was posted in Geek Culture, Personal Advice, Philosophy and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Tattooing in the Name of Geekdom

  1. DANGERZONE says:

    what kind of font is your latin in?

    • You know, my biggest regret from that tattoo is forgetting to ask that question. I went in there describing the kind of font I was looking for, he pulled it up, and I said yup, that’s it. And due to the excitement of getting my first tattoo I was not my normal inquisitive self. Failure.

  2. BAD. ASS. I love the duality of the work on your arms — fantastic and a brilliant idea.

    Your line about possibly hating who you were when you got the tattoo is astoundingly, disarmingly true. I’m not sure if every tattoo parlor in the world would consent to having it hung in their lobbies, but they should at least consider it.

    Also, I cannot stress enough the importance of getting a great tattoo artist. Yes, it might cost more. But it’s worth it. Especially since it’s permanent. Be patient, do your research, save up, and do it right. And when you find an artist you love, stick with them. I have gone to the same person for both of my tattoos; and if I ever get a third, I will go back to her. She is AMAZING.

    Glad you were able to get this post done without Loki screwing things up again. Nice job.

    • Ask the DM says:

      yeah, i feel like regret in general is a direct result of a lack of self-acceptance. once we love ourselves we love all of ourselves past, present, furture, and it’s hard to look back on anything we did as a bad idea.

  3. Grace says:

    Nice tattoos. I’d never get one myself, not because I don’t like them, but because I have a deathly fear of needles.

  4. I intend to get a tattoo, but like you cost is the thing that slows me down. Geekdom has little to do with the tattoo I intend to get, but I know if the bug bites. I will most likely get some geeky ones also. Which will including my avatar, cause I am a music geek too.

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