The other morning, I was texting my friend, searching for the perfect emoji to add. She had a cold and my text was a “sorry you’re sick” kind of deal. The emoji search was exhaustive. I weighed the face blowing kiss against the emoji with heart eyes. I considered the one with the thermometer, but she didn’t have a fever. The emoji with medical mask? No, it virtually screams, “Germs!” Scanning intently, I found the sneezing emoji, but thought, “Really, is that the message I want to send?” I browsed the hearts and dismissed all the different colors. I contemplated hand signals, from thumbs up to fingers crossed, and ended up skimming a sea of flags. It was then, when noticing the similarities of the Angora and Belgium flags, reality snapped into focus. I thought, “What the hell am I doing?” You see, I have a full life with plenty of things to do, people to see, and work to accomplish. I do not have the time to carefully inspect and weigh qualitatively the value of certain emojis over others. And, yet, it is exactly what I do. Often, several times a day.
I confess, “several times a day” is a humdinger of an understatement. Truth is I text emojis sun up to lights out. The amount of time sunk into my endless quest for the perfect emoji is vast and pointless. No one ever laughed in glee at the adorable little seeno- evil-monkey I just texted. Or exclaimed, “Oh! You should see the glass of wine emoji my friend just sent! She’s so original!” That never happens. Ever. No one cares. And, lord knows, there’s nothing creative about it; we’re all fishing in the same emoji pond. My quest for just the right emoji is akin to thinking what breakfast cereal I choose has impact and meaning.
What further dumbfounds me about my attachment to emojis is that I am a writer. Since when have I needed a picture to say something? Have I not waxed poetic on a regular basis about my love of words? Why, then, when reduced to a text, do I need a picture to accompany my sentiments? Is it because text messages are brief and limiting? I don’t think so. Even a haiku, can tell legions in 17 syllables.
The fact is: I need an emoji intervention. And, apparently, I’ll have to do it myself because here’s the hard truth, my friends are all emoji-enablers! They text me endless emoji options. Some I get hooked on, like my favorite, the shrugging woman! I love how she wears a purple shirt and fetchingly holds her arms up in the air and … maybe that intervention should start today.
As a way to break my emoji addiction, I vow to speak each one out loud to reveal their inane contribution. For example, I could say, “Thanks for helping me - grinning face with heart eyes!” “You’re hilarious - cat face with wry smile!” Or, “I’ve had a bad day - pile of poo.” That is sure to cure me of using these icons of robotic expression. So today, let the emoji fast begin. I commit to a month of no digital images in my text messages. I will report back - fingers crossed and anxious face with sweat.