Saturday, April 9, 2011

A Proposition on the Meaning of "asdf"

"We should agree on a definition for the word "asdf". It is used too much to not mean anything," says KennedyPittman, one of the people I follow in Twitter. Questionable Content made ago by defining it as a "robot cuss word." I concur, and would like to take it one step further.

In my eyes, "asdf" is an expression of exasperation, when you don't know what else to say...but you do. You know that rage you feel when your network connection dies for no reason? "asdf." You know the sheer puzzlement of trying to get your device to connect to your computer only to find that it was barely unplugged? "asdf." You know when you find the solution to any tech problem in the last place you'd expect it? "asdf." The primary purpose of "asdf" is to express discontent and bewilderment of technological issues, but as words often do, it is likely to leak into other areas of life, such as traffic, automobiles, or pets.

For example, I just went through several weeks of Windows not being able to launch Explorer, Control Panel, or certain filetypes within any file manager. I got some ridiculous error about how I "may not have the appropriate permissions to access them." I worked around it until I needed to launch VirtualBox, only to find that it wouldn't even start and showed a similar message. When I'm about to give up hope, I create a new User Profile, point it to where my old one is, and logon. Not only does it look the exact same as my old profile, everything works, including VirtualBox. asdf.

In terms of etiquette, "asdf" should always be lower case, simply because it's purpose is to let your left hand cascade down on the middle row, and this is very hard to do while pressing shift, and if you leave capslock on, please leave the internet. Also, "asdf" is formally not a verb or even a noun, but rather an exclamation, much like "Oh!" or "Drat!"

However, in informal settings, "asdf" can be used as a noun to express a situation that facilitates an "asdf" response:
"Did you try out that new beta?"

"No, my computer had an asdf when trying to run it. Turns out I had to turn off the firewall."
Or, in a much more limited manner, "asdf" can be used as a verb for when the technology is committing the difficulty:
"What? 'Driver not found'? Oh no, don't you asdf on me now!"
Keep in mind, however, that "asdf" is the only form of itself, meaning that things like "asdfed," "asdfing," and "asdfen" are not correct. Instead, one should use "had an asdf," "is having an asfd," and simply "has asdf," respectively. Furthermore, the plural of "asdf" is simply "asdf."

Although not meant to be spoken outloud (like "LOL" or "OMG"), when spoken in English, this is the pronunciation:

You may be thinking, when is the right time to use "asdf"? Well, hopefully this little acronym will help


1 comment: