Pinky Pie

Emoticons, Abraham Lincoln & Me!

Posted on: May 22, 2010

Among the many ...

Considering how much I hated the prolific smiley face when I was in college in the 1970s and the accompanying “Have a nice day,” much has changed in me.

It appears I have lived up to my old motto, “hypocrisy first.” It’s a reference (cue the sarcastic emoticon) to my flip-flopping, waffling, changing mind. In other words, consistency is not my strong suit.

First, I started using the 🙂 smiley face, creating it with the colon, hyphen and parenthesis. :-).  Because I am such a smart aleck, I need to alert folks that there may be humor ahead. When in doubt, assume I’m kidding unless I’m ranting.

And how terribly hip it is of me to know how to do this. Of course, the fact that I know how to do this makes it unhip, or whatever the term may be. And is there an age limit on emoticons?

With my new Blackberry messaging, I have been using other emoticons. They are so easy to find and use. Occasionally, I suppose, I’m using them inappropriately and also too frequently.

So what are emoticons? Here is a definition from Wikipedia: “a textual expression representing the face of a writer’s mood or facial expression. Emoticons are often used to alert a responder to the tenor or temper of a statement, and can change and improve interpretation of plain text. The word is a portmanteau of the English words emotion (or emote) and icon.”

And while I did figure it out, a portmanteau, again according to Wikipedia, is used broadly to mean a blend of two (or more) words or morphemes and their meanings into one new word. This blog is also educational.

Emoticons have come a long way, baby, from the mid 19th century when the number 73 in Morse Code meant “love and kisses,” or later to “best regards.” Even Morse Code got stuffy. Stop. (a telegram joke)

Abraham Lincoln was said to have include a symbol in a 1862 speech that could have been interpreted as a winking emoticon, although it may have just been a typo or punctuation tool.

And since the 1980s, they’ve been in great use and now are available in thousands, many as free downloads, although I’m a little frightened to do that because of adware,viruses, etc.

So here I am using emoticons with abandon. At least I’ve not started using wanton  exclamation points in my writing! That’s something I would never do before! Certainly as a newspaper reporter, we didn’t add exclamation points, we allowed the readers to find the intensity of the message on their own!

So make your own decision! Emoticon away! Exclaim away!

A couple of sarcastic emotions I found on the web.



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