Kurt Vonnegut’s “Asterisk”

Submitted by S.P. Sullivan:

Literary Tattoos: Kurt Vonnegut Breakfast of Champions

The tattoo is Kurt Vonnegut’s trademark “backdoor.”

I got this when I turned eighteen because I wanted to do something stupid and impulsive, but not entirely uncharacteristic of me. My father introduced me to Vonnegut; the first thing he said when he saw it was “you know that’s a sphincter, right?”

I’ve grown tired of explaining it to people, mostly because they usually look at me like I’m insane. So, when asked, I inquire to the inquirer, “Have you read Vonnegut?” If yes, it’s relatively easy to explain. If no, I just say it’s an asterisk and leave it at that. I’m often asked if it’s a botched attempt at the Red Hot Chile Peppers logo. So it goes.

Based on Kurt Vonnegut’s infamous asshole doodle, first appearing in Breakfast of ChampionsLiterary Tattoos: Kurt Vonnegut Breakfast of Champions .  There is an entire blog dedicated to this doodle:  here.


  1. Andy says

    I recently got a Vonnegut tattoo myself, and your mention of the RHCP logo is the very reason I steered clear of the "asterisk" drawing. But at least it makes sense to everyone who'd actually care about it, right?

  2. laura says

    if it makes you feel any better, i immediately knew what this was. and i have considered getting a similar tattoo.

  3. Joey says

    Hahahaha brilliant!

    I'd love to get a Vonnegut tattoo myself… but I don't have the money. I know what I want, it's just the funds are running a titch low.


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