I really enjoy tattoos that reveal geographic information about people. Just this morning when I was getting more coffee next door at New Seasons, the sales clerk had a walleye tattoo on her forearm (the image is not of the clerk). I engaged her in conversation about the tatoo:
me: Is that a Walleye on your forearm?
her: Yes! Where are you from?!?
me: Uh…. Wyoming or Nebraska, technicaly. But I know a walleye.. Where are you from, Minnesota?
her: Yes. Of course. But did you know they catch Walleye on the Columbia?
me: Yes, world record fish even.
her: I didn’t know they could live in rivers.
me: The Columbia is more of a lake anyway.
receipt printer: ..you’re done, next customer…
I have to admit I was caught off-guard when she immediately asked me where I was from given that I knew it was a walleye, but it’s not illegal to know a little about fish.
This is now the second conversation I’ve had that was geographical and tattoo related with a New Seasons clerk. The other case was when I noticed the southern tip of what looked like Illinois poking out from under a clerk’s sleeve, and below that, what I now know is an “L” train car. The clerk said she was working on getting something inked for Portland, but said she’s drifting towards Cali before she figures out where she wants to be permanently.
In a way, these are just pictograms describing one’s personal history, but in the other, they do serve as a mental map to help the wearer find their way back home. The outline of a state is a given, but things like a state bird, fish, flag, etc.; that’s just nerdy. And I appreciate that.