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Having a dry sense of humour often necessitates additional explanations in conversation. I’ve learnt that children are no different from Amelia Bedelia. Remember her? She was always taking common figures of speech literally. People often take my dryness as a true representation of myself. If this occurs in a face-to-face conversation, one can only imagine what a phone call far less a text message might mistakenly convey.

For this purpose, I am an avid emoticon user. Before I made the most important decision of my life, switching from my Blackberry to an iPhone (insert emoticon) I was limited to only a few options of explanatory emoticons in conversation. After a great wedding, I would post my BBM status as “feeling great” and go to the proverbial vending machine of emotions and select my mood or sentiments of choice. In this case, the green face smiley with quivering lip would usually suffice.

However, as a person of many words, I found it difficult to allow that green face to fully encapsulate the fact that I had swollen feet, an electrocuted up-do, one earring on and no sign of the lip gloss that I hid in my bra the night before. With the iPhone, I have a whole array of emotions to choose from. The emotional vending machine is now Carrie Bradshaw’s shoe collection. There is something suitable for every occasion.

A conversation might go a little something like this:

“Hey (smiley face icon with rosy cheeks), I’m sorry I forgot to message you back (smiley face with halo). My dog (paw prints) had to go to the vet (smiley face showing teeth with eyes squinted). Thank goodness he is okay (clapping hands). What did you guys do last night? (Lipstick, kiss print, boy and girl face connected by pink heart) Haha. (Smiley face with open mouth and vertical ellipses for eyes). I’m sure it was great, I know how much you were really looking forward to your date (Eyes rolling smiley).”

Apparently, we are becoming incapable of having original feelings. Expressing ourselves using written or spoken word is secondary to hashtags and emotags. Soon our written messages will begin to mirror ransom notes. I for one don’t mind the occasional misinterpretation of a text message. Especially, if it saves me from feverishly selecting suitable symbols from that endless character factory stored inside of my iPhone. Whew, I feel relieved.” (Smiley face with sweat dripping from brow)

What ever happened to meeting a friend for coffee and chit-chat? That virtual cup of coffee never seems to hit the spot. No amount of emoticons can ever compare to stretching the corners of your mouth into a smile and hearing the contagious laughter of your best friend over java and jokes — give it a try for a change! (Winking smiley)