English Writing and Rhetoric professor has USB tattoo from his days in Alaska

Jasmine Kim

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It’s okay to do a double take; he doesn’t mind.

Don Unger’s tattoo is exactly what you think it is.

Unger started teaching as an English Writing and Rhetoric Assistant Professor here at St. Edward’s this semester, and his USB symbol tattoo has attracted much attention.

With a specialty in tech and business writing and document design, Unger studies how people use online writing strategies and how writing is changing through access to digital tools. Of course, in regards to this field and being in this day and age, the USB, or Universal Serial Bus, is something most of us millennials overlook and underappreciate.

If you really think about it, how cool is a USB? You can connect any device to any computer (as long as there is a USB port) at any time, and that’s a pretty cool concept that makes life a whole lot easier.

In relation to his background in writing and rhetoric, Unger talked about how most of us look over the act of writing as well. Writing, like USBs, connects things to allow communication, but on a mental and intellectual level.

“I like the idea that we sort of overlook what connects different devices and things together so that they can operate and communicate with one another,” Unger said.

The placement of the tattoo is also important, as it is placed on his inner wrist near his hand. The symbol faces towards his hand, revealing a parallelism between hand and USB as well.

“The idea that your hand serves a similar purpose in terms of connecting you to other things is kind of the metaphor,” Unger said.

His symbolic tattoo not only represents how technological devices connect to one another, but aims at a bigger picture. The tattoo represents how writing connects minds and touch connects human beings as well.

At first, he didn’t get the tattoo with this deep message in mind.

“I kind of just liked the symbol,” Unger said.

He got the tattoo in 2012 while residing in Anchorage, Alaska, by a coworker’s boyfriend.

“The guy was actually on house arrest and wore an ankle monitor, so I had to go see him at his house,” Unger said.

He only started utilizing the tattoo as a logo this past year after getting his Ph.D., and it seems to be working well in his favor.

“Students definitely ask me about it,” Unger said.

Unger does plan on getting more tattoos, hoping to get one relating to the different places he’s lived. He grew up in upstate New York, lived in Anchorage, Alaska for six years, lived in Indiana, and now has found his place in Austin.

“I’ve lived in a number of different places and I’d like to get something that either represents those places altogether or something that they can build off of and add on to,” Unger said.