The power of :)

This is borderline “pushing it.” Not unethical but not exactly proscribed by my employer as behavior befitting an employee.


It’s not like I’m giving company secrets away. It’s not like I’m sitting here talking about what a bunch of idiots run the company. The purpose of this glimpse into my work life is about me solely. A glimpse, or a snapshot, if you will. This.

Let me explain. One of my old friends who works in another department emailed me today and asked me to review some documents that were attached, and to reply with questions or confirmation. In the email, since we have a friendly history, she asked how I was doing. If I was ready for the holidays. The usual fluff. I read her email and noticed that there were no attachments. This happens all the time in today’s workplace. People always send emails that are missing the attachments they warn of. A simple neutral observation pointing out the lack of attachments is all that’s needed on your part. No need to be a smartass about it, even though, in your mind, you’re thinking, “good job, idiot.” Since I know the woman who sent me this email, I didn’t think that at all (or hardly), but replied that I was OK. And I pointed out the attachment was missing, followed with a traditional, un-HTML’d version of a happy face which Microsoft Outlook will convert to the real thing if you Will it to do so. Most people do Will it so. “:)” or “:(” convert to :) or :(. My friend replied that she was getting old and included the attachments she neglected previously. She included her HTMLized smiley, the image of the way a smiling face should look. None of this half-hearted open or closed parenthesis paired with a colon old computerese crap. Real. I’ve highlighted our own versions of smileys in this email in yellow.

Most people I know have real graphical smileys that look like real smiling people. An ear to ear grin. Good humor issues forth. Why is it I refuse to take the time to change my Outlook settings so that I can create real honest-to-god smiles in my emails?

I fear this echoes real life (RL!). My smiles are rarely genuine. My smiles are similar to the cyberarchaic symbol of a smile. They are haphazard conglomerations of unrelated symbols brought together in a unified and unspoken understanding to symbolize that which they don’t really look like. In my case, my smile is an empty ) symbol, preceded by a pair of layered dots : that bear no resemblance to eyes. My smiles are meta tokens of obligatory humor and happiness. If examined carefully and disassembled over their constituent parts, my smiles look nothing like what they intend.

I’m lacking the graphical smiley in my life. My personal settings are misapplied. My smile is an unfulfilled code. Elements of my face attempt to join in a concerted effort to portray joy but instead look like a conglomeration of disconnected parcels that fail to blend into one seamless and unmistakable pronouncement.

Conveyance is lacking and my smile can be mistaken or interchanged with everything. Easy to mistake.

I don’t even care enough to change my settings.

People know what I mean when I … : ) What do I care?