While riding New York City’s L Train, I spotted this tattoo on an anonymous Williamsburg-bound hipster. I only had a few moments to chat with him as my stop was coming up, but he claims it is a full schematic for a guitar amplifier circuit. It heartens me to think that a piece of engineering ephemera has elevated itself to hipster tattoo art, but another part of me is dismayed. After further inquiry, it turns out the tattoo owner is a musician and actually has no clue what any of those strange symbols mean on his arm.

The first night I met my wife, I noticed the schematic symbol for A/C on her wrist and thought she might be a keeper (especially after finding “soldering” listed under her hobbies on MySpace and realizing that she could cogently explain the difference between alternating and direct current).

Have schematic tattoos become the hip ink du jour? Are they indelible reminders for the rebuilding of a post-apocalyptic society, or just another tattoo fad like tribal markings or cryptic characters in foreign languages?