Emoji Confujion

Shared a picture of my cat,
You sent me a thumbs up.
Shared the news of something bad,
Your emoji cheered me up.
Texted you a funny joke,
You sent a smiley face.
When I sent a little heart to you,
You asked me on a date.
But what does this emoji mean?
The mouth is open in a scream,
It's spitting something blue and green,
Puffed out cheeks and rising steam,
A halo up above its head,
Crossed out eyes,
It might be dead,
And fuzzy ears just like a cat.
Now, how should I respond to that?

-B.C. Byron
How should I respond to this emoji? Why doesn’t my phone have a steaming angel cat, spitball, puffy-cheek emoji?

Written language has a strange evolution. In ancient Egypt, they used pictures to write onto stone tablets. It required memorizing a huge number of pictures and not everyone had the tools or time to learn how to communicate with heiroglyphs and stone carving. Then we devoloped other types of writing that was more flexible. A limited set of pictures or symbols that can represent any complex idea you want. Then the printing press and electric copiers came along and soon nearly everyone was able to write. Then phones came along, and we’ve reverted to vague pictures, mish-mashed with partial words and acronyms. And now we use tiny tablets to write with again. I sometimes feel like I’m in an ancient Egyptian pyramid when I read a text by teenagers. LOL, SPDQ, smiley, smiley, wink, wink. No idea what that means. Honestly, do we really understand these modern heiroglyphics as well as we think we do? I guess it makes communication more fun, though. We need a bit of mystery and confusion to keep things interesting between people. Is that girl in chemistry saying she’d like to get to know you better when she sends a red-faced emoji with stars around it? Or is she saying she got hit on the head and needs you to drive her to the hospital? Guess you’d better go find out. Or you could just text a tiny ambulance with a question mark after it. As you can probably tell, I’m not a very advanced texter, but I’m learning.

In the end, we all appreciate a real smile more than a digital one, but there are so many ways to talk to each other in the modern age. Isn’t it cool that everyone can find their voice through technology? Keep poking heiroglyphics into your little tablets, just take a little time now and then to explain what you’re writing to a confused adult. We want to be a part of your jokes too. Even if they’re about us.

Published by B.C. Byron

I’m a children’s author, poet, father of 3 girls, and electrical engineer. My first book, A Cat Named Lump, is available on Amazon, BarnesandNoble.com, and Google Books. I post new poems and illustrations every week.

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