Rage WallpaperMy day starts with this instant message transaction.

That movie you recommended me was a piece of shit. 🙂

Oh, why do you say that?

Because only an Americans could enjoy this sort of dog shit! 🙂

The Czechs make some pretty bad movies, don’t they? I have seen Gympl.

F*ck you, you f*cking asshole! I never want to see you again! 🙂


Now, without the emoticons these texts represent a pretty clear statement of abject dislike for both me and my taste in films. Furthermore, it displays a keen interest in never sharing the same breathing air again. But there are emoticons. Everywhere. Like mines at play in the fields of clear thought and ideas.

It doesn’t stop there.

Later that day I am standing in front of a classroom full of early Twentysomethings and handing back their latest assignment. This assignment was to write a mock letter of intent for a summer internship at an EU institution. At the moment I am quelling a rage that is begging to be allowed to tip over the boiling point.

It has been one of those mornings. It started with that irritating (and confusing) IM session above, and then the toe stubbing of the century. This was followed by tripping into a door frame and nearly stubbing one of my favorite appendages. Then there was an email from a governmental institution inviting me to pay 2500 Kč for something I already have. Fortunately, though, to avail myself of this honor I have to wake up at the crack of dawn on my day off to go stand in line with people who look extras from the Walking Dead. I sent off a one-line email to confirm my appearance.

I am at the end of the day’s tether and it is only 11:45 a.m.

Topping it all off like a big grinning cherry were the dozens of emoticons I was greeted by as I sat in my office this morning and graded these papers. I suppose words themselves are not suitable enough to express just how much they want to have the internship.

I really like people and I work at a children’s camp every summer. 🙂

I look forward to hearing from you. :-/

I think this internship would be a wonderful opportunity! 😉

Extra credit for exclamation point and emoticon duo. I wonder if, in the future, the exclamation point will act as a double positive of sorts, thus negating the emoticon. I point out that the inclusion of emoticons in a professional email or letter is totally unprofessional. Blank stares. I decide to go to a level they might understand.

“Imagine that you had to break up with someone in an email, OK?”

Nobody flinches, so I assume that this has been done by email (or text) by everyone in the room but me.

“And imagine adding a smiley face to the sentence: We need to break up.” I then mimic this: 🙂

Blank stares. One student, T, raised his hand. “But professor, what is wrong with this?”

Blank stare (this time mine). Finally: “You’ve done this, haven’t you?”

Everyone nods as if I’ve just asked if they’ve ever used a computer.

“Well, weren’t you afraid they wouldn’t understand that you were serious?”

T, evidently elected group leader pre-class, again raises his hand. “She never wrote to me again, so I think she understood.”

Touché, T. I find my way to my office, eat a sandwich and in grumpy curmudgeon fashion groan about the end of literate humanity. It comes down to this. Either people don’t trust language to convey meaning anymore, or they just don’t understand language anymore.

What’s next?

Dear Mr. Johnson, I regret to inform you that your entire family perished in a wolverine attack. :-/

Mr. President, we have stolen your launch codes. Prepare to meet your maker. 🙂

Sorry, I think I gave you herpes. :/

I don’t know folks, I don’t like our chances. 🙁

  1. #1 by Gabrielle Piccari Luongo on November 29, 2012 - 1:52 am

    Wow, I really can’t believe people do this. I empathize with your sadness. Stay strong.

  2. #2 by greg galeone on November 29, 2012 - 4:53 pm

    the bad news dame is that you are right and unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be going in the right direction. the good news, miniscule as it may be , is that your old man can’t even do an emoticon. good entry damo-dad.

  3. #3 by Andy on November 29, 2012 - 7:36 pm

    347 words to go…;-)

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