I’m late to this party, being an avid non-believer back in the day when the perennially cheerful smiley face was rampant. So global, in fact, that it’s sunny-side-up mentality was everywhere, which over time became a real downer.
I felt like that plastic happiness followed me everywhere, like a creeper. It was on notepaper, T-shirts, coffee mugs, and even the sides of buses. I especially hated when people added a smiley after their signature. Just because you’re happy, does that mean that I have to be?
It became innocuous, like the phrase “Have a nice day!” which over time, came to mean — nothing. Something that just rolls out of the mouth from store clerks to taxi drivers and that no one even listens to anymore.
You might have just said, “I’m really depressed because my grandmother was run over by a bus,” and the rote response will be, “Ok! Well, Have a Nice Day!”
But these days I like to add a few emoticons here and there, just for a laugh. Sad smileys with tears popping out of their eyes. Frustrated, red-faced smileys. Angel smileys. Even dog and cat smileys!
I do get annoyed when people use emoticons to give them a pass on bad behavior. Like untold numbers of emails I’ve received over time where someone makes a borderline comment, then follows it with a happy face.
Like, “Hey, it would have been nice if you’d called to say you weren’t coming instead of keeping me waiting all bleeping night,” followed by that winking, I’m just kidding face … ;o) … or, yes, you guessed it, our official friend Smiley.
Well, I for one am not sure I believe you!
I’ve also just discovered seasonal emoticons. In fact, I remember an email I sent Mindy a month or so ago after I gave her my Halloween post to look over. I was feeling pretty festive. Her response was funny. Did you just send me a flapping bat? she asked.
Yes, I replied. And here’s another one for good luck.
OK, I don’t really take these symbols all that seriously. In fact, not at all. They just make me laugh. And I’ll probably get bored and stop sometime soon.
But for now, whatever keeps a smile on my face is a good thing. As long as it’s my face, and not … you know who’s.