Once I made the decision to jump out of my geek career and start something totally new, the idea occurred to me that literally marking the change would be, well, meaningful. The symbol that kept recurring in my mind was a very old one called a pilcrow, or paragraph mark .
The name may be a derivation of paragraph through _parcrafte_, but this etymology is uncertain. The OED suggests that the word originated as _pylcraft_, a corrupted form of "paragraph" (earliest reference c.1440).
By one account, the pilcrow originated as a C, for capitulum (“chapter”).
After some deliberation, I decided I wanted the tattoo to look like typography rather than calligraphy. I poked around at various fonts and styles and wound up liking the bold Garamond version of the pilcrow, though I decided to hollow out the “C” portion. Then it was off to my friendly neighborhood tattoo shop. (Dragons Gate, in Enfield, New Hampshire.)
Scott, the owner, was every bit as good as I’d been led to believe – professional, funny, confident, and clearly very experienced. We talked about the design for a bit, applied it as a stencil to my leg, looked at it in the mirror, changed the position slightly, and then got down to the actual inking. It took about a half hour on the table. The sensation was (unsurprisingly) like being pricked very shallowly by a safety pin. Never particularly painful.
I’m very pleased I did it.