Guess Which Kurt Vonnegut Tattoo is By Far the Most Common?
The Answer May or May Not Surprise You
Today, Kurt Vonnegut Jr. has been dead for eleven years. Somehow, it seems longer. Like Anne Rice, Sylvia Plath, and J.R.R. Tolkien, Vonnegut seems to inspire an unusually intense form of fandom—maybe because his work, like theirs, is often encountered in one’s formative years. Of course, if you’re not careful, intense fandom can sometimes lead to proselytizing, overstuffed bookcases, and in extreme cases, permanent body art. After all, a lot of people have Vonnegut-related tattoos. But on the anniversary of his death, I wondered: which line from his oeuvre, or image from his brain, is walking around on the most bodies?
To find out, I catalogued a total of 300 random images of Vonnegut-inspired tattoos posted online (primarily searching via Google Image, Tumblr, Pinterest, and this gallery). This method, as you might imagine, does not even scratch the surface of Vonnegut tattoos on the internet, let alone out in the world, but hopefully it will be representative. You know, like the census. Some of the tattoos I catalogued incorporated more than one Vonnegutian element, and some of the images had more than one tattoo in them. Some, no doubt, had references I did not catch. This is all to say: the calculations here are inexact, but (I think) generally representative. So without any further ado, I present to you: the ten most common kinds of Kurt Vonnegut tattoos.
“So it goes.” (from Slaughterhouse-Five): 132 tattoos (!)
“Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.” (from Slaughterhouse-Five): 65 tattoos
Representations of headstones, as doodled by Vonnegut or otherwise: 30 tattoos
Vonnegut’s doodled self-portrait, with or without autograph: 19 tattoos
Vonnegut’s famous “picture of an asshole”: 19 tattoos
Other reproductions of various Vonnegut doodles: 16 tattoos
“Goodbye Blue Monday” (from Breakfast of Champions), in doodle form or in script: 15 tattoos
“Busy busy busy” (from Cat’s Cradle): 9 tattoos
Various other portraits of Vonnegut: 8 tattoos
An image of hands forming a cat’s cradle: 5 tattoos