Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Have a nice day!
The smiley face, a graphic low-point of the 1970s, if not of all time, has had its iconography thoroughly documented already, by Smithsonian magazine among others. So I won't bother rolling it out here, except to note that for some reason the smiley face is less objectionable when shrunken to an emoji at the end of a sentence.
Why? Perhaps because it is so very small. Or, more likely, because the internet is a cold medium, nuance is often lost, and if there weren't a way to telegraph that we are speaking in jest, well, we would all be forced to slit our wrists in a warm bath. 😊
Or maybe we just got used to it, our standards of communication worn down like a rock under a waterfall. OMG.
Then again, "Have a nice day!" the one-size-fits-all blow-off vale we tossed at each other for decades, wasn't exactly the Sermon on the Mount either. Let's not blame technology for reflecting our flaws.
On Sunday, in Evanston, before we slipped by the offices of Legacy.com for the Society of Professional Obituary Writers breakfast, my wife and I killed time by stopping in that mecca of all things baked, Bennison's, where we picked up a laudable baguette for dinner. I noticed that their creative bakers had augmented smiley faces with, for want of a better word, frowny faces.
"Which sell better?" I asked the clerk, who indulgently pulled their tray out of a case at my request so I could photograph them properly. She said that the smile faces are more popular—I guess all is not darkness quite yet, or else people are trying to cheer themselves up however they can, allaying this Trumpian gloom with simpering sweets.
Although some people, she continued, will specify the frowns. "They'll order four at a time," said the clerk, who reluctantly agreed to be included in the shot, and I didn't want to push my luck by asking her name. You can't be too careful in this world. No wonder we're so glum. I didn't have the presence of mind to buy a cookie, so I can't say whether I went smiley or frowny—the latter, definitely. Besides, they are a better value: you get extra chocolate icing, in the form of of those vexed eyebrows. Next time.