On Spoons

Posted by Katie McLaughlin on July 7, 2016

Content Warning: This posts discusses mental illness, and links to references discussing topics which have their own content warnings

Spoon Theory as described by Christine Miserandino explains how the analogy of having a limited amount of tools to get through your day can be hard when you need to expend an amount of energy just to get out the door.

The general term of ‘spoons’ has been adopted by a few tech communities, including Python and Django, to the extent where as I’ve described before, the energy required to say you don’t have the energy is negligible. That in itself is amazing.

Russell Keith-Magee also describes spoon theory in his “I am a doctor” talk from DjangoCon US 2015.

Taking this a step further, the act of being able to give a physical spoon to someone as a sign of “I appreciate you are having a hard time, here is a physical manifestation of a element to help you get through your day” is a wonderful thought. To the point where I’ve wanted to get actual physical spoons made. Like souvenier spoons that you can get from small country towns, but with an enamel design of something to do with spoon theory. Maybe just an heart? I’m not quiet sure yet. However, logistics and other issues (ironically, a lack of spoons) has stopped this idea from becoming a reality.

However, I’ve been able to get some of this idea into the real world. While researching punycodes, I’ve found that there are a number of single-emoji .ws domains that, as of yesterday, were unclaimed. .ws domains allow punycode registrations, and Unicode 9 was made official last month, which included the official adoption of the spoon emoji.

spoon_ws.png

Put this all together, and I’ve made 🥄.ws, or “spoon-emoji”.ws. It’s a small website that just gives you a picture of a spoon, a small inspirational message, and links to both Russell’s and Christine’s resources on spoon theory. On the technical side, I was able to accomplish this via the punycode converter, the emojipedia listing for spoon to get the unicode character, the emojione emoji for spoon, and iwantmyname for the domain registration.

Yes, some people still think that ‘bending spoons’ or Matrix references are the appropriate way to respond to someone talking about spoons, but hopefully a general sense of “No, I shouldn’t make jokes about mental health issues” will come about when people start talking about needing spoons.