Last night I was engaging in some texting with noted PGP’s own Dave. We were discussing some business, as is customary with Dave, because he is a dude that’s constantly doing business. As I received the answer to a question that I was looking for, I could’ve responded in a few ways. Maybe, “Cool, thanks” or “Alright great” or even “Nice man, that’s tight.” I could’ve, but I didn’t. I went the cheap way. I went the lazy way. I went the way of a teenage girl. I sent him a yellow ‘thumbs up.’ I sent him an emoji. And I hate myself for it.
For years I observed and resisted the emoji plague that was taking over texting. I despised the little faces, the little people, and the foods that don’t really mean food. We as humans had already let our communication deteriorate to simply texting (our ’90s selves who spoke on the house phone would be ashamed), why now must we replace words with shitty cartoon pictures? I despised when anyone would hit one of my shockingly funny texts with the ‘crying laughter’ emoji. Come on, just express to me with written word how funny I am. Don’t take the lazy way out and send that stupid face; you’re better than that.
Compared to the language, emojis are cheap cop-outs. Personally, I felt like they were simply “basic.” Now I had the emoji keyboard, but back in the day I would have rather wiped my ass with a cactus than use that thing.
Like any habit, it started off seemingly innocent. If I remember correctly, the ‘thumbs up’ emoji was my gateway drug. What could a little ‘thumbs up’ hurt? All it’s doing is avoiding a typing of “sounds good” or “that works.” It’s just something I’ll do occasionally, and not a regular thing. You won’t catch me downloading collections or partaking in convos with a 60/40 emoji to text ratio. I’ve despised that person for years and won’t become them.
I told myself that, but a few ‘thumbs up’ turned into a couple ‘prayer hands,’ and then I dove into the scummy underworld of excessive emoji usage. I was like Jeff Goldblum in The Fly; becoming increasingly disgusted in myself while at the same time being enthralled in the new creature I was turning into. No longer was I limited to just simple letters when letting my point be made in a conversation. Small little drawn characters were at the tips of my fingers ready to let me devolve into a whole new world of written self-loathing.
To this day I don’t know how or why I ever texted without emojis, while at the same time I want to vomit when I scroll through a few text bubbles and have to think, “Wow, I just used the ‘prayer hands,’ ‘shocked face,’ and ‘A-OK hand’ back to back to back like the Tom Emanski of childish conversation.” But by now I’m too far-gone; it’d take me a three month stint in T9 flip-phone days to even have a shot to ween me off these beauties.
I’m ashamed to admit it, but sometimes they make more sense than words ever could. Why celebrate a Twins win (rare these days) via text with anything but like twenty ‘eggplants’ because of my raging sports boner. It gets the message across quickly and efficiently. And obviously anytime someone tells me they’re listening to Bieber or any other jam they’re getting hit with the “fire” emoji on repeat. Just recently I was faced with the conundrum of how to describe the legendary exploits of Chad on “The Bachelorette,” and could only do them justice by dropping the ‘goat’ in every text I discussed him in. Hell, I stooped low enough to get the SNL emoji keyboard, just in case there’s ever a, “Van down by the river!!!” reference.
I’m embarrassed that it’s come to this, I really am. I feel the shame whenever I’m typing an email and think to myself, “This whole email could be summarized with a ‘fire’ and a ‘thumbs up,’ why am I even typing this?” Not even a year ago I would’ve hated this me; hell, I may have even staged an intervention. But now emojis have me like Bangkok. So take pleasure in my shame all you want. Criticize me for excessive usage. Hell, even DM me to tell me how embarrassed you are for me. You know what you’ll get back? A ‘frown face,’ a ‘peace out,’ and if I’m feeling sassy, a ‘hair flip.’.