“There is no emoticon for what I am feeling.”
—Comic Book Guy, The Simpsons
I have never been the type of person to use emoticons. I have also never been the type of person to write things like LOL, ROFL, or OMG.
But that is really two (very, very important) issues.
First up: the emoticon. Okay. I sent an email to my supervisor at some point several months back and upon reading his response, realized that my sarcasm did not translate to the written word. Which I think is weird, because when I write, I hear me saying the words in my head, so I wonder why you can’t hear them too.
On a side note, please get the hell out of my head.
Anyway, no damage was done by that email to my supervisor, but it did teach me that sometimes a well placed :) makes a big difference. I have to tell you that emoticon usage is not just a slippery slope, but a damn Olympic ski jump. If you have been the fortunate recipient of one of my emails, you are probably aware that they have infiltrated my writing to the point that I can’t write a personal missive with out including at least two little emoticon smiley faces. And the occasional frowny face.
Sometimes I’ll even try to put an emoticon within a parenthesis, which possibly creates a situation where the clarity I am trying to achieve with the emoticon is wrecked by the additional spacing and punctuation.
(It’s tough to have clarity, right? :) )
I’m okay with the :) emoticon and the :( emoticon, but that is as far as I go. Every once in a while, I accidentally miss the shift key and my smiley face turns into a winkey face, like this: ;). That’s a problem, and a little too cheeky for me.
Now, for the LOLs of the world. I have absolutely no problem reading these acronyms when other people use them. In fact, I enjoy them. They convey a lot in just a little bit of space. I particularly enjoy them when someone uses one to tell me that I am making them laugh. Or making them roll on the floor laughing. Or! There is the highly coveted ROFLMAO. That’s my favorite.
But I have clung steadfastly to my belief that I don’t use these shorthands. Until I started to notice that OMG was creeping into my usage. Now, I have to tell you that my favorite way to experience OMG is when someone says it out loud: “Oh-em-gee.” But it’s all right if you write it down too. Or even type it.
However, I’ve noticed that I’ve started using it in my written work (and by “work,” I mainly mean “emails”) because it’s easy. And because then I don’t have to worry about the comma (Oh, my God or Oh my God), and I always worry about the capitalization of “God” because if it’s a name it should be capitalized, but if it’s just my god, then maybe it shouldn’t, but oh jeez, then what if I offend someone because “God” should always be capitalized? Or, even worse, what if I offend people just for saying oh my God when I am clearly doing so in vain? Because I do know people who are hurt by that, and I don’t really want to hurt anyone over that.
Hmmm. I could pretty much have just said the following instead of all of the above: You may start to see LOL speak and emoticons slipping into my words more often. Sorry.