At work today, I decided that I needed to be able to more easily get the shrug symbol into my emails and messages. This probably says something bad about my attitude towards my job, but: (shrug).

I specifically wanted to use the multi-character text symbol, and the not single-character emoji. That symbol is a combination of simple ASCII characters, plus a couple of fancier UNICODE characters. This article has some interesting background on it:

Taking ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ the worldview to its logical conclusion, Foster makes the fatalistic argument that everything is predetermined and space-time is a false construction of the human mind.

Well, OK, maybe I’m not ready for that worldview, but it seemed like a good response to the guy who asked me if I could kill an out-of-control SQL process this morning. (Final determination: I could not.)

So I went to AutoHotKey and tried to define a little macro. My first attempt, which should probably have worked, didn’t. (Probably because my AHK script file is UNICODE, but the wrong kind of UNICODE?) Anyway, changing it so that the UNICODE characters are specified with their hex codes fixes it. So now I can type “backslash backslash shrug” anytime I need a shrug!

; doesn't work right.
; ::\\shrug::¯\_(ツ)_/¯
; works great!

By the way, WordPress is kind of weird about displaying the shruggie too. It sometimes eats the backslash and sometimes doesn’t. It looks OK in the blockquote above, but when I tried using it directly in this post, not in a blockquote and not in a ‘pre’ block, it kept eating the backslash. Even when I entered the escape sequence instead of directly entering the backslash character. I think that’s a mystery for another day though. (Shrug!)

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