Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Rockin' the tilde

That's right, unlike most of you who fear to venture into the wilderness of the upper-lefthand corner of your keyboard, I am a frequent tilde user.

A week ago or so, an incredulous-looking individual asked me, "What on earth would you ever use it for?"

I just smiled and replied, "I have my reasons."

"Well, I guess you probably use it for typing Spanish words, right? I mean, that's probably how you make the 'ñ.'"

"Nope," I answered. "For that I use Alt + Num Lock + 164."


The tilde (though I admit, it can be a little too girlie) is perhaps the only character of whimsy that appears on modern western keyboards. It's a free spirit, untamed and somewhat impractical--which is why it's been banished to the far reaches of the keyboard with dangerous characters like Esc.

The tilde is truly alone in its status as a diacritical mark. I mean, the other marks may carry with them an air of sophistication--for instance, even though he is like, the most awesome philosopher ever, no one would look at Søren Kierkegaard the same if he didn't have that slash through the "o" in his name. Most diacritics have the general effect (besides advising pronunciation) of wearing a pair of very artsy, european, dark-rimmed glasses.

But the tilde . . . it defies sophistication. It's too curvy and fun to fit in with the starkness of the other diacritics. And it would seem that just about everybody wants to use the tilde for something. According to wikipedia, it's really quite the popular symbol, despite its lonely position on the keyboard.

So the next time you wonder why such a useless character is taking up space next to your oh-so-practical numbers, remember this: it's the only fun key we've got. On my keyboard at least, the ratio of fun characters to boring ones is 1:103. Now come on, don't you think we can spare the room?


Christie said...

Who ever knew the symbol had the name tilde. Now, can we see an example how you use your beloved symbol?


Dulcimer said...



brannabee said...

i was just wondering, is this lewisberry part two?

or is this just about tiles?

i was just wondering.

brannabee said...


Dulcimer said...


Lewisberry part two is still in the works . . . I think it might end up being a four- or five-part series. :)

And if I had wanted it to be Lewisberry part two, I would have called it that.

I says what I means and I means what I says.

brannabee said...

well i didn't know that. sometimes part two of things isn't called part two, ya know. ~
{plus i like these}{they're cool}