quitting time

So, back when us common folk were just starting to use the interwebs for interpersonal communication, these things called emoticons were invented.

Horrible things. Things I mocked, scorned, and generally distrusted.

Then, a couple years back, I started using them.

It started with the winky face. That coy little semicolon peeking over a parenthetic grin that promised to convey my sarcasm when I was being too fucking lazy to write it properly.

Then came the smiley face. I’ve always had a thing against exclamation points, but without them, IM conversations just didn’t seem … I don’t know. Happy enough. So, in lieu of an evil that was at least a legitimate form of punctuation, I started putting all these little grinning assholes everywhere.

(It does not make them cool that the Comedian wears one in The Watchmen. Nothing can make them cool. They are the antithesis of cool. Besides, he wears it, like, ironically. I’ve yet to see someone effectively use an emoticon ironically. They are the antithesis of irony. And of cool. Did I mention that?)

Anyway, it’s gotten worse. Much worse. I have started slipping the sad face into certain IM conversations with certain people. (You know who you are, and I apologize.)

I’ve moved from a casual user to a fucking addict. And it needs to stop.

So, I’m quitting. Cold turkey.

Feel free to admire my bravery and loudly applaud my decision. And if you get an email from me in which I kind of sound like I’m being an asshole, remember, I’m working without Ol’ Winky for the first time in awhile, and I’m probably just failing at being funny.



13 responses to “quitting time

  1. Glad to see Booya! is off the fridge and in your blog. Me likey much…not enough for an inserted smiley face but much indeed.

  2. And I’m glad when you’re glad… and even gladder when you don’t use a smiley to express your gladdness. That’d be like lighting up in front of someone trying to quit. And would require me, in turn, to use the sad face.

  3. I am terribly guilty of said addiction. I do admire your willpower but will probably never venture the same less trodden path to redemption. For those, like myself who cannot properly write even in the slightest; emoticons are a god sent. Replace the hideous overuse of adjectives (see, see that) for those silly, frustrated, winky, spunky, and googly-eyed faces and instantly one can feel as though they have fooled the world. ; > )

  4. I’m with you. Actually, you are one of the people who I saw using emoticons that made me think using them was ok, funnily enough. Not dorky, but useful, as you say, to convey tone, since conversation on the internet can be a dangerous thing. You leave out one winky smiley face and it can end a friendship. I’ve seen it happen, sadly. So I tried (and still try, to an extent) to only use emoticons when necessary to Make Sure I am being understood as joking. I don’t think quality of writing or laziness enter into it as much as you say, simply because not everyone with access to a computer has access to a brain that understands irony and/or complex thought. I think if Dickens had posted the death of Little Nell in ‘The Old Curiosity Shop’ as a blog post there would be people out there wondering if he was being sarcastic.

    But I admire your effort to rid yourself of the scourge of the emoticon. I still use them with people who use them a lot, because I figure I need to speak their language. Not that I’m being judgy or snotty, I just think some people need that smiley face to make sure they get the joke. Because they’ve become so used to seeing them there that if they are absent they immediately suspect the worst.


  5. Yeah–
    Ol’ Winky is definitely the “gateway drug” of emoticons. And the sad thing is, like you say, that the stupid things do sometimes serve to preserve social harmony.

    I see this happen a lot at work. People talk poorly about a coworker because he or she sent a “rude” email, but they never follow up with the person in question because that would be, ah, direct and would require, ahhhh, real conversation, which would, be, ummm, totally awkward!

    And so they continue to be cordial enough in person but meanwhile they harbor increasingly insistent suspicions that this coworker with the rude emails is really a raging asshole. Or they skip the cordiality altogether.

    It’s really just sad.



    8===D + (_(_|


    (now, true ASCII art I can get behind.)

  7. I had to google that thing to figure out what it was.

    I guess ignorance is the only way to survive living with such a filthy, filthy man.

  8. I like on South Park when Cartman is inadvertently trolling for NAMBLA friends and he uses emoticons, saying them out loud as he writes:
    “Clown hat, curly hair, winky eye, smiley face”

  9. Does <@;) mean something dirty, too?
    Google is no help this time. No help!

  10. No, it’s a clown hat [<], curly hair [@], winky eye [;], smiley face [)]. I cannot make it any clearer than that, it’s too hard using emoticons with regular punctuation. Too hard, I say!

  11. Ok–
    I didn’t know if they created a dirty “picture,” like Ty’s did. I’m like the friend that you have to explain all the dirty jokes to, and who then thinks the ones that aren’t dirty must be, too.

  12. While I do understand the first dirty part, the second part is lost on me. I assume it’s something they discuss delicately in Summer’s Eve commercials. Something I wouldn’t know…Anyway, I love the Skype emoticons, the ones that move, or wave, or get angry. And I realized a while back that when emailing I tend to overuse exclaimation points. Big time. So don’t give up on smiley!!!!!

  13. I think it’s a tookus–
    And exclamation points are ok, as they can be used ironically.

    My entire criteria for what punctuation is and isn’t ok is apparently based on its potential to be ironically employed.

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