We use IM a lot at work; we are introverts who are adept at expression via keyboard. Even Kate, who is pretty outgoing and sits right next to me (see previous diary), IMs me constantly throughout the day, though sometimes that's to cut-and-paste something to me, or make silently snide comments.
One time, she copied a line out of her email to me (I forget what it was, but it had that Outlook-generated smiley at the end that translates to an L in most normal fonts.) This was followed by:
Kate: whatAt which point (or perhaps shortly thereafter, after some more of this exchange), she said "Double-you Tee Eff" out loud, and I finally turned around to ask, "What?"
Kate: can you see that?
Me: see what?
Turned out that the smiley-face paste had changed her font in AIM, so she was now typing in Wingdings, though it came through normally on my end (which is yet another reason to use Pidgin, bitches).
So I watched as she typed "wtf" and some other choice acronyms and four-letter strings, generating sequences of mysterious symbols. (At no point did she just start mashing the keyboard. She's a writer.)
"What's WTF again?" I asked.
"So it's ... 'little diamond big diamond ...' what is that? A crossbow?"
"I don't know."
"It looks like a crossbow. Or maybe an anchor. Turned the wrong way."
Inspired, Kate fired up Word to get the definitive Wingdings alphabet -- thinking, I guess, to use it as some sort of cipher so that we could speak to each other in code, sort of like when parents spell words out to each other. But when she got to W, T, and F, she discovered something distressing -- WTF actually looks like this:
Which was not only not little diamond big diamond whatever, but definitely not as cool.
"What? Are Wingdings not standardized?" she exclaimed, incredulous. "This is not OK."
Of course, typography geeks among you have already realized that she'd switched case when creating her ASCII-to-Wingding mapping. When she discovered this she created a map of both, and put it up on her whiteboard.
"I'm really glad that you're making the effort to optimize your Wingding writing," I commented.
"I spent far too much time on that," she admitted.
Despite that, however, the phrase "little diamond big diamond crossbow" never quite caught on.
AS A COUNTER-EXAMPLE, the other thing that the formulation "WTFC" brought to mind was the fact that, when I was in college, a few of us started using the phrase "In what furnace was thy brain?" as a rough analogue for WTF. Being a rather cumbersome phrase to toss off in a fit of frustration, it was often truncated to "In what furnace!?" or simply "Furnace!" (For full effect, you'll have to imagine us doing our best Alicia Silverstone.)
Weirdly, this usage gained more currency than , although this is probably because, as a group, we were much bigger dorks.
IN OTHER NEWS, Firefox did not eat my diary, even though I accidentally quit it halfway through writing this. That crossbow-tilted-square-radiator-ampersand-really-tight-belt-black-square-delete-this rocks.
|< What I need to live on for three months | It's a Sad Day when I am forced to install Fedora >|