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Human Notepad

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He Couldn't Find a Pen, but luckily the tattoo parlor was right next door.

"It's just a permanent way of keeping a note."
Lenny, Memento

Generally a subset of Power Tattoo, which sometimes overlaps with Mark of the Beast and Scannable Man. The Human Notepad is when a character is covered with writing. Perhaps he was the victim of a prank (expect frat boys to pull this one), or perhaps he is making notes on himself as an aid to memory (in which case this is mostly seen on the back of his hand). In Speculative Fiction, it may indicate possession by some powerful foreign entity. In supernatural cases, the text usually covers the whole body, although sometimes just the face or another prominent part is covered, and it appears only when the possessing entity is actively attempting to control or providing power to the marked character.

The significance of this particular form of Power Tattoo is apparently that the controlling force causing the phenomenon is intelligent, as well as alien to the consciousness of the recipient. Thus it is often eldritch or archaic in nature, and as a result completely unintelligible; the further in appearance from any writing system familiar to the viewer, the more inhuman the source will ultimately be.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Dr. STONE: As Matsukaze was being petrified, he carved a symbol resembling the Medusa device into his arm to act as a warning for anyone who found him.
  • Riza Hawkeye in Fullmetal Alchemist has a tattoo on her back that contains her father's research into flame alchemy, which she shows to Roy Mustang before asking him to destroy it. Scar's brother did this to himself in the first anime in an effort to create a true Philosopher's Stone.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Stardust Crusaders: Kakyoin bypasses Death XIII's memory erasure by carving a message onto his arm warning himself that the baby with the group is the Stand User.
    • Golden Wind: Narancia writes things on his wrists in order to remember them.
    • Stone Ocean: When effected by a Stand that causes her to have memory loss, Jolyne retorts to writing notes on herself with marker to keep herself reminded. After losing one of her most important reminders, Jolyne quickly uses Stone Free to write the same message and attaches it to her body.
    • JoJolion: Holly's illness takes the form of rocks that slowly creep up to her brain and cause her to go into a coma regularly. To combat this, she's written numbers all over her body to measure how much time she has left between comas.
  • Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple has music-obsessed Siegfried writing one of his compositions on his unconscious opponent.
  • Miharu suffers from this in Nabari no Ou when the Shinrabanshou sealed inside him is used. This "secret art" is described as being more like an immense library of powerful information, though not in a readable form and thus impossible to control. Inside his mental space, it appears as a stormfront of floating Kanji.
  • Many sealing and summoning skills in Naruto incorporate pseudo-text into them, as elements of Instant Runes; they count as this trope when scrawled on the body. In a more straight example, when Sasuke's curse is first sealed by Kakashi, the skill takes the form of a large rune surrounding Sasuke, which is composed entirely of pseudo-text that crawls up his skin and compresses itself to form a barrier around his curse mark.
    • A bizarre example are the Toad Scrolls. Naturally born with an elongated body that can unroll like a scroll, secrets and seals can be written on their flesh for safe-keeping and they will then hide themselves within their contractor. Gerotora, the only one seen thus far, contained the 'key' to the Kyuubi's seal.
    • Fukasaku became a non-mystical Toad Notepad when Jiraiya burnt a coded message onto his back.
    • The Rikudou Sage is the most pronounced example in the series. The patterns on him are seen on others as well, Pain and Madara for example. Then Naruto's Kyuubi Chakra Mode has those markings etched into the aura; they become fully-formed (complete with Badass Longcoat) when Naruto and Kurama fight together.
  • A rather disturbing example occurs in Shigofumi. Fumika, the protagonist suffered from a form of child abuse wherein her Mad Artist father would etch his rough drafts into her body with glass pens.
  • The Promised Neverland: The children have identification codes printed on their bodies. The format and location varies from farm to farm, and factory farms use brands.
  • In Those Who Hunt Elves, the spell that's needed to send the protagonists back home has manifested as sigils tattooed on five elves somewhere in the land they're in.
  • In one chapter of Urusei Yatsura, Ataru undergoes a "Freaky Friday" Flip with...a school notebook. The result is Ataru's face stuck inside the notepad, while his Empty Shell body covered in equations and other notes.
  • In Your Name, two teens (Taki and Mitsuha) undergoing a "Freaky Friday" Flip begin leaving notes for each other, sometimes with journal entries on their smartphones and sometimes by writing on their palms. Played for Laughs in one scene where they get frustrated with each others' actions and write things like "Stupid!" and "Jerk!" on each others' faces. Then near the climax, they finally meet face-to-face and write their names on the other's palms so they can remember... except Mitsuha disappears before she can start. Later on, she finally looks at what Taki wrote and sees that it says "I love you"; as she cries, Mitsuha says that it doesn't do anything to help her remember his name. It does give her a much-needed Heroic Second Wind, though.

    Comic Books 
  • One of the villains in Matt Fraction's Casanova hid the map to his money in invisible ink on the nubile flesh of a band of pop-singer assassins.
  • Green Lantern: Lyssa Drak of the Sinestro Corps. After the Book of Parallax is lost, which contains the life story of every member of the Sinestro Corps, and every atrocity they have done in the name of fear, she proceeds to write all their contents by burning into her skin with her ring.
  • Parodied in MAD, in which one student writes an entire essay on his arms and has to wear long-sleeved shirts for the entire month of May lest he reveal his cheating.
  • The Scorpion: In The Treasure of the Templars, it is revealed that Rochnan was punished for pretending to convert to Islam by having the 99 names of Allah tattooed over his body.
  • Solomon O'Sullivan, a minor character from the Milligan/Allred era of X-Force, has the mutant power to make words appear on his skin, which then quickly flakes off. Sometimes he can consciously control this (eg to create mildly creepy business cards) but sometimes they are spontaneous and either revealing or prophetic.

    Comic Strips 
  • FoxTrot:
    • In one strip, Paige accuses Jason of telling her to look up during a walk in order to give her some Eye Scream in the form of a falling leaf. Jason gives himself away when he throws up his hands in mock self-defense and reveals he wrote drag coefficients down on them.
    • Another strip involved Jason invoking this trope a la Prison Break when he feared going to jail for hacking the CIA's computers.
  • Knights of the Dinner Table: One of Brian's contingency plans is to have spells tattooed on the backs on Bob and Dave's characters so he can cast them if he doesn't have access to his spellbook or scrolls.

    Fan Works 
  • The Victors Project: Ermine has a tattoo on her back for every person she killed in the 43rd Hunger Games, every person she killed before the 43rd Hunger Games, and every Tribute she mentored who died in the arena.
  • Rocketship Voyager. B'Elanna Torres has body tattoos that illustrate her lifetale. Tom Paris is surprised to see a crucifix among them; she later explains that she was raised in a Catholic orphanage on Venus.

    Film — Animated 
  • Mulan writes notes to herself on her arm before heading to the matchmaker, although they are washed off during the scrubdown she is administered by her mother and grandmother making the script non-legible.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The Tattoo in Bulletproof Monk magically transfers to Jade and Car when they take over the magic duties.
  • The villain in Cape Fear (1991) has lines from the bible tattooed all over his body.
  • In Cutthroat Island, one-third of a Treasure Map is tattooed on the scalp of the heroine's father. After he gets killed at the beginning of the movie, she cuts it off of him and takes it with her, as he'd instructed while dying.
  • In Gang of Roses, it is eventually revealed that the sheriff has the second half of the Treasure Map tattooed on his chest.
  • In Gunless, The Montana Kid has a series of self-inflicted scars on his left arm: each one a tally mark representing a man he has killed.
  • Happens in the film version of Harriet the Spy in the form of "foot tattoos" shared between friends.
  • House of 9: During his Sanity Slippage, Francis starts writing on his body with Cynthia's lipstick.
  • In Looper, carved directions on the arm are used as a way of communication between young and old time travellers.
  • Mad Max: Fury Road. After being captured by the War Boys, Max has everything they know about him forcibly tattooed on his back: he's a Universal Donor, has intact eyes and testicles, no apparent radiation scars, and is a road warrior. The tattoo also notes also that he's aggressive and must be kept muzzled. Nux has scarification on his chest in the shape of a V8 engine. The most extreme example is Miss Giddy, who has covered almost every inch of her body in tattoos meant to record history in the absence of books.
  • Leonard Shelby of Memento provides the image for this page and is probably a Trope Codifier. He uses tattoos as a Note to Self to make up for his inability to form new memories.
  • Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears: After they discover the ruins of the Bedouin village, Phryne realises that Shirin's tribal tattoo is actually a map to the location of the Crypt of Tears.
  • The second Percy Jackson and the Olympians movie has Mr. D write reminders on his hand because he can't be bothered to remember anyone's name or the details of the speech he's about to make.
  • In The Pillow Book, a woman with a body writing fetish seeks to find a combined lover and calligrapher.
  • In Pistolera, the title character has a bullet tattooed on her back for each person she kills on her Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Rush Hour 3 is driven by the search for "Shy Shen", an important figure to the Triads that is alternatively an important individual or a list of the names of Triad leaders being held by the individual. When Lee and Carter find the Shy Shen — a French stage performer named Geneviève — we learn that it's both: the list of names is tattooed on the back of her head as part of a Triad tradition, which would also involve her carrying the list to all 35 provinces of China before she would be beheaded and buried forever.
    Carter: What type of tradition is that?! Have these guys ever heard of a damn fax machine?
  • In the The Scorpion King movie The Book of Souls, Amina is revealed to have her entire body covered in mysterious letters and markings when her body is exposed to the moonlight. This is because she is the titular Book of Souls in human form and every time someone is killed by the Fang of Anubis, their souls become trapped in her body with their name engraved on it.
  • Gray from Snowpiercer is The Voiceless, but has various common phrases tattooed on his arms and torso. He communicates by displaying or pointing to specific words when needed.
  • In Water World, the little girl who serves as the heroine's Morality Pet has a treasure map tattoo that leads to the surviving last dry land on the planet.
  • Dan, the son of Yellowbeard, has a Treasure Map tattooed on his head.

  • Clive Barker's Books of Blood. The opening story, "The Book of Blood", introduces the premise of the anthology series by revealing that a fake psychic is attacked one night by genuine ghosts and spirits who decide to make him a true messenger by writing stories into his flesh.
  • The Death Gate Cycle: Two races of rune-wielding demigods exists: The Sartans, who inscribe Instant Runes by moving their hands and feet — essentially 'dancing' the magic out; and the Patryns who follow this trope. They tattoo magical runes across their entire body (except the head, where it would disturb the process of free thought) and can thus call out their power at will.
  • In Discworld, males of the Nac Mac Feegle clan of pictsies tattoo themselves all over. It's implied that their natural skin color may be nut-brown — at least, that's what their un-tattooed females look like — but appear blue from their all-body clan markings.
  • The Illustrated Man in the story of that name by Ray Bradbury is covered in Animated Tattoos that tell various stories.
  • In Inkheart, many of the Big Bad's conjured creatures end up with lines of text in awkward places on their skin (like diagonally across their faces) due to a Malfunction Malady of sorts. This carries over to the film version
  • Vinculus, from Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, is covered almost completely (with the exception of hands and face) in the prophecy of the Raven King. After it is fulfilled, it shifts into the Raven King's magic book.
  • Moby-Dick:
    • Queequeg's tattoos are said to be the work of a deceased prophet from his island and consist of "a complete theory of the heavens and the earth, and a mystical treatise on the art of attaining truth," but written in symbols that no one, not even Queequeg, can actually read.
    • In Chapter 102 ("A Bower in the Arsacides"), Ishmael mentions recording the dimensions of a whale skeleton on his arm, "as in my wild wanderings at that period, there was no other secure way of preserving such valuable statistics." (He omits the inches, as he was saving room for a poem.)
    • Ahab uses a flattened section of his whalebone peg leg to work out navigational sightings.
  • The heroine of Mr Meeson's Will by Hrider Haggard has the eponymous will tattooed on her back after she and Meeson are stranded on a desert island with no writing materials.
  • In Night Lords, given the unpredictable nature of his visions Talos will often scrawl portions of prophecy on his warplate, since it may be the only way for him to remember what the heck he just saw. Unfortunately, it makes him distinctly distinguishable as a much coveted prophet of the VIII Legion.
  • In the Phryne Fisher novel Away With the Fairies, the Ruthless Modern Pirates carve their ransom demands into Li Pen's chest and send him back to Lin's family as a warning.
  • Red Dwarf: At one point in the first book when the crew seemed to have returned to Earth, Lister discovered his arms were suddenly in pain and the injuries formed a pair of messages. They turned out to be from Kryten invoking this trope by carving the message into Lister's arms in the real world to try and warn him that he and the others were trapped in the game Better Than Life.
  • Simon Ark: In "The Treasure of Jack the Ripper", the mutilation of the prostitutes murdered by Jack the Ripper were actually a smokescreen to cover the theft of a patch of skin from each of them. These sections of skin each held a tattoo that, when stitched together, formed a Treasure Map.
  • In Bolesław Leśmian's book version of Sinbad the Sailor, the protagonist's poet uncle laments that his poems always get destroyed one way or another, no matter on what media he records them. Eventually, he tattoos all his poems on his body.
  • The Humanoid Alien Aimians in The Stormlight Archive can alter their appearance at will, a talent that Axies the Collector uses to cover his body with research notes in case he's robbed. Since his first appearance is waking up naked in an alleyway with a raging hangover and no recollection of the previous day, it comes in quite handy.
  • The titular protagonist of Peter V. Brett's The Warded Man (and sequels), has magical wards tattooed over most of his body, they allow him to fight and kill corelings hand-to-hand.
  • In Anthony Reynolds’s Word Bearers novel Dark Apostle, the titular Dark Apostle Jarulek has covered his entire body—including the inside of his mouth and the surfaces of his eyes—with inscribed passages from the Book of Lorgar to show his fanatical devotion to Chaos Undivided.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel did this in Angel's dream sequence in "Awakening". The shaman who removed Angel's soul had writing all over his body and the team had to decipher it.
  • In Blindspot, the amnesiac Jane Doe's body is almost completely covered in tattoos that form clues to the dates and addresses for future crimes. In a more realistic outcome, her skin is very raw and sore, and the others are horrified to realize the tattoos were applied all at once about a week ago.
  • Brimstone : Zeke Stone has the names of the 113 damned souls he's hunting tattooed on his body, 'penned in [the Devil's] native tongue'. When he sends a damned soul back, their name is removed, painfully.
    • This causes a problem when he sleeps with a woman, unaware that she's one of the escaped souls. She reads her name on his chest and realises what Zeke's task is.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In "Restless", Willow's dream begins with an erotic scene in which she paints Sappho's Hymn to Aphrodite in Greek letters on the back of a naked Tara. And in "Villains" she absorbs several Tome of Eldritch Lore — the text is seen flowing across her skin until its reaches her face and gives Willow Black Eyes of Evil.
  • Chouriki Sentai Ohranger: Gorou gets the code Red Puncher needs to combine with Ohranger Robo printed on his back by the memory pack containing it when said pack is destroyed.
  • An episode of CSI: NY had a victim covered in writing and rolled in a carpet; he was a writer killed by the guy he was plagiarizing who had a condition that compelled him to write on any surface.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "The Impossible Planet"/"The Satan Pit": Toby. Whilst he's controlled by the Beast, Toby's eyes glow red and his body is covered with inscrutable symbols written in what appears to be sharpie.
    • "The Impossible Astronaut"/"Day of the Moon": The Doctor's companions write tallies on themselves to remind them of encounters with the Silence.
      • For some reason, they like to do it on their faces, where they can't see it until they look in the mirror.
      • Although, to be fair, they appear to not start making tallies on their faces until they have filled up their arms and hands.
      • The beginning of "The Wedding of River Song" has more of this.
  • Elementary: In the season 3 episode "Art in Blood", Sherlock and Joan detect coded tattoos made in invisible UV-sensitive ink all over a victim's chest and arms.
  • In season 4 of Heroes the season's Big Bad is a man with terrakinesis. He uses his ability to leave messages in ink on his mooks (and form a strangling hand if they anger him).
  • Short, dramatic example: On Lost, Charlie writes "NOT PENNY'S BOAT" on his hand as the room he's in fills with water to tell Desmond.
  • In M*A*S*H, Klinger does this to cheat on a test, requiring him to perform some rather odd gymnastics in order to see the answers.
    • "Who said, "Damn the torpedoes!! Full Speed Ahead?" His answer: Tugarraf!
  • The OA: Has prisoners in a demented test learn of a series of movements that may have the power to save them. Since they are told memory loss might be a side effect of using the movements, they make an effort to remember them by cutting ciphers detailing them into their backs.
  • Michael Scofield of Prison Break had the details of his escape plan and blueprints of the entire prison tattooed on his body, albeit hidden within geometric shapes and images of angels and demons.
  • In Red Dwarf, Rimmer attempts to cheat his way through an exam by covering his entire body (save his hands and face — and buttocks) with written notes. On trying to look at the ones on his forearm, he finds his sweat has smudged them into complete illegibility. This doesn't stop him from wrapping his hand around his forearm and slapping it down on the exam paper, in an insane hope that the words would somehow re-form themselves. (He then stands up, salutes his examining officer and faints in the middle of the classroom.) Even prior to that, he had a crisis just before the exam when he realised he didn't know what any of it meant.
  • Weird Science: "Slow Times at Farber High" takes this to quite the extreme with Gary. Ahead of a test, Principal Scampi pats him down to look for any cheating implements, only to find Gary has written all over himself. He even wrote complete sentences backwards on his back, intending to check that stuff in the mirror while faking a bathroom break. Scampi is genuinely astounded, saying Gary has outdone every cheater ever seen in the school and that he could genuinely be the school's greatest mind if he simply put this kind of effort into his schoolwork.
  • On The Whispers, the bearded John Doe, who is later discovered to be Agent Claire Bennigan's missing husband, initially wakes up extremely disoriented and his body covered in mysterious tattoos. New ones appear as omens/signals to the next step in the mysterious "Drill"'s plans.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • In Dick Tracy, George Ozone tattooed a treasure map on to the insoles of the feet of his sons. He then killed the tattoo artist.
  • Jeremy in Zits frequently writes notes all over his body, leading Walt to refer to him as "Our son. The human Post-It note."

    Pro Wrestling 
  • During the build-up to WrestleMania 28, John Cena showed the audience that the Rock had notes for his promo written on his arm.
  • In the mid-1990's, there was a Japanese wrestler named Hakushi who had Japanese characters all over his body, including his face.note  Jerry Lawler called him "The Human Cheat Sheet".

  • Bleak Expectations plays for laughs an Animal Notepad variant in a couple of the intro segments. Mr. Sourquill's latest gadget is a "Carrier Cheetah"; you simply shave its back, write your message on its skin, and send it off across open planes at a sped of up to 60 miles per hour, unless it gets distracted by an antelope. In another episode his gadget is a "Morse-Code Horse"; It has an encrypted message written on one side, and the encryption key on the other. You must spin it round and round to decode each letter one at a time, quickly making the horse dizzy.

    Tabletop Games 
  • A few classes in Dungeons & Dragons can scribe magic scrolls onto their skin; the ink or scars remain until read to cast the spell, and then vanish. The 3.5 Edition supplement Complete Arcane also provided rules for wizards to use tattoos as a spell book.
  • Reki, the History of Kamigawa in Magic: The Gathering.
    "After his death, monks spent ten years transcribing the tattoos from Reki's body and gathering stories from those who spoke with him. Thus the volume you hold was written."
  • Talislantan Thralls all look alike by default, so they give themselves elaborate tattoos as a way of expressing their individuality.
  • In Warhammer 40,000, the Word Bearers Chaos Space Marine Erebus had passages from the Book of Lorgar tattooed on his face.
  • Runemasters in World Of Warcraft The Roleplaying Game tend to completely cover themselves with runic tattoos.

    Video Games 
  • In Call of Duty: Black Ops, the English defector who invented the Nova 6 chemical is covered in tattoos of mathematical and scientific formulas.
  • In The Curse of Monkey Island, one character has the only map to a certain island — tattooed on his back. Yes, you do have to get it off. No, we won't say how. You don't want to know.
  • Ivan from Devil's Third is covered by Japanese words as a Shout-Out to the classical Japanese tale "Hoichi the Earless" which symbolically fits to the game's theme of how long range communications device have gone due to a (proposed based of Kessler Theory) natural disaster. Gameplay-proper, it reacts with his inner "Embaku" powers, allowing him to enter a Super Mode (and the words glowing) after enough melee damage is dealt.
  • In The Fermi Paradox, one of the game's random events can potentially cause a civilization to become so obsessed with tattooing that they write down all of the information that they know on their bodies.
  • The Great Ace Attorney 2 - Resolve: Tchikin Strogenov has a crudely-written tattoo on his arm that appears to say "Sholmes" on it, but when turned upside-down, it turns out to be hastily scribbled doodled numbers.
  • In NieR, spontaneous development of writing on the body is the namesake symptom of the Black Scrawl.
  • In Paradise Killer, Henry Division is covered in sigils from his demonic possession.
  • The Nameless One in Planescape: Torment, put there by a previous incarnation as a Note to Self.
    "No wonder my back hurts; there's a damn novel inscribed there!"
  • In Rift, the Bahmi, the Defiant faction's resident giants canonically have this as a cultural trait:
    "The Bahmi cover themselves in very intricate and magical tattoos called "sefir". The application of sefir is all that remains of the Bahmi's elemental heritage, and they recognize great accomplishments in a Bahmi's life. The tattoos recount the personal histories of each Bahmi, while also providing a sizable source of imbued elemental power."

    Web Comics 
  • Mnemosyne in Zeus And Sons has tattoos of things she should try to remember. Including one that urges her to "find a solution in case writing space runs out".

    Web Original 
  • A sketch by Derrick Comedy features a man who tattoos himself to remind himself what dicks look like.
  • Sarah of Midnight Screenings tends to write the trailers on her arm, so she doesn't forget them when she's discussing movies with her fellow reviewers.
  • The main characters of Pretending to Be People get a list of names branded onto them. They get them crossed off as they proceed through their time loops.
  • The Strangerhood: Griggs attempted to do this when he was jailed under suspicion of murdering Nikki. What he got was a cat riding a surfboard.
  • Nick Mullen on an episode of Cum Town had a bit where a comedian he didn't like got turned into a human notepad while in prison. The gag went that the other inmates would scrawl completely mundane notes to each other, such as asking for extra things from the cafeteria or reminding them of an upcoming basketball game.

    Western Animation 
  • A squicky variation shows up in Aqua Teen Hunger Force, when Carl and Master Shake anger a forest of talking trees. The trees hang Carl up by his feet and tear off pieces of his skin to write notes on during his "trial".
  • Pam from Archer has thirteen tally marks tattooed on her back, one for each person she killed fighting in underground clubs to pay her way through college, and under them, an excerpt from "The Destruction of Sennacherib" by Lord Byron.
  • In an episode of Camp Lazlo, some insects bit Raj in order to make him into a treasure map.
  • Used for humorous effect in Family Guy: When the Griffins go to a prison, they have to write a lengthy contract on a prisoner's buttocks with a shard of glass as he screams in pain. Peter makes a mistake and proceeds to 'erase' it causing the man to collapse, presumably dead.
  • In an episode of Futurama, when Fry becomes the emperor of a race of liquid people after accidentally drinking the previous one, he is required at his coronation to recite the oath of office (a Long List of how each emperor dispatched the last) by memory, and gets by by writing it on the inside of his arm.
  • Gravity Falls: In "Roadside Attraction", Dipper lets each girl he flirted with write their contact info on his arms. When he and Stan hot tub, he has to keep his arms out of the water to avoid running the ink.
  • Homer from The Simpsons has written notes on himself in some episodes.
    • When he became an ad for blue pants, he ended up writing other ads. It turns out the one about eating Maine potatoes wasn't an ad, but a note to self.
    • When Springfield was divided into two phone areas, Homer had the second area code written on himself, as well as a reminder that, out of his two best friends and co-workers, Lenny was the white one and Carl was the black one ("I think that's right.").
    • When Homer entered a Catholic school, he wrote onto his right arm a long word and on his left one "God=Good Devil=Bad".
    • In "Lard of the Dance", Homer writes "Red=Meltdown" on his arm.
    • In "Homer Goes to College", Homer plans to cheat by writing the entire periodic table on his arm until one of his tutors points out that he would never be able to fit the entire thing.
    • In "The Last Temptation of Homer" Homer writes a Let's Just Be Friends speech on his hand but when the time comes for him to deliver it to his attractive co-worker he finds that his nervous sweating has rendered it illegible. We also see another man reading the note on his hand, which starts with 'I am tired of these jokes about my giant hand' and then continues as an extensive essay.
  • In the Spongebob Squarepants episode "No Weenies Allowed," Patrick looks at his hand to remind himself that he is pretending to be a "kickboxer" to show Reg how tough SpongeBob is.
  • Stōked: In "Dirty Little Secret, Nerdy Little Secrets", Emma writes a long screed that covers both of Fin's arms, reminding Fin to wake her up to go training. Fin apparently does not notice till Broseph points it out to her.
  • Superjail!: Salty, the old captain seen in the episode "Vacation", has the map of the floating islands tattooed on his back. Of course, when he dies Lord Stingray rips the skin off of his back to keep the map.

    Real Life 
  • People write on their hands all the time. Reminders, doodles, attempts to cheat, etc.
  • Some people tattoo a word or brief phrase of sentimental significance to them somewhere on their body, like the wrists or bicep.
  • Prison tattoos are usually a way to communicate certain things to other prisoners. The full list of examples is too extensive to list here, but here is a brief list of well known ones:
    • A clock with no hands usually signifies the prisoner is serving a life sentence.
    • A tear drop on the face is usually a sign the prisoner has committed murder. Some have variations of the teardrop; for example, an outline of a teardrop usually means they committed attempted murder.
    • Playing cards on the arms and legs signify a liking for gambling (or that they simply believe that life is a gamble). Be careful what types of playing cards you tattoo on yourself, however. Clubs usually mean a generic criminal, spades signify a thief, diamonds usually signify a snitch (usually forced on) and hearts signify the prisoner is looking for love (also usually forced on).
    • 1488 is a sign that the prisoner is a white supremacist (the Fourteen Wordsnote  being represented by the 14 and the 88 being the 8th letter in the alphabet H, 88 is a simple sign saying "Heil Hitler").
    • Webs can signify a long term behind bars; so can a small tattoo on the hand that has 5 dots (4 surrounding 1 in a perfect square), webs with spiders in them can indicate the prisoner is in for murder, but they can in some cultures represent a rapist.
    • Goats can indicate a snitch (forcefully applied).
    • In eastern European and Russian prisons they note which crime the prisoner has committed, where they committed them, how long they committed them and even sometimes why they did it, with a number of small tattoos on the prisoners hands. They take their tattoo code extremely seriously; if you have a tattoo on your body that you haven't earned (and they WILL find out eventually), the other prisoners will remove the tattoo forcefully.
    • That being said, trying the same shit in any other prison is just asking for trouble. They probably won't skin you alive to remove the tattoo, but you might be shanked for your trouble.
    • Tattoos of crosses and praying hands are usually a symbol of the prisoner finding faith inside bars.
    • "Mama tried" is the prisoner basically saying Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse.
  • MMA champion Bas Rutten used to draw a big R on the back of his hands before every match to remind himself to relax during the brawl, in order to keep himself from gassing out.


Video Example(s):


Rimmer Is Covered In Gibberish

Rimmer tries to cheat his way through an upcoming exam by covering his limbs in the answers. Trouble is he has no idea what any of it means.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / HumanNotepad

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