I’m giving up emoticons for Lent

“I’m giving up emoticons for Lent. So if you have any difficulties picking up on sarcasm, you might want to give me up for Lent.”

Source: Me, yesterday, on Twitter.

I did it last year — without an announcement — and it was hard enough, and I’m sufficiently annoyed with myself for my chronic reliance on those little yellow moodmen, that I think it merits a repeat. So from now through the end of March, no emoticons for me.

The great emoticon ban, 2013Lent is not an especially meaningful celebration, what with it being fully Catholic and me being barely Catholic. As in, the Church says we’re good, and I say, “Dude, we’re really very not.”

Whatever my feelings about this particular religious event, it’s a solid 40-day stretch and I love stretching. I just passed that mark with my 365 project and it finally feels cemented as a daily practice. 40 days free from smilies and frownies and animated poop should be a snap, right?

Well, like I said, it’s hard. I almost never use emoticons in my professional emails, which is strange, because I often end up with writing assignments from people I’ve never met in person, and they’re the folks who would benefit most from clear direction on when I am joking (pretty much always) and when I am not (anytime anything I write has the potential to go on the record, which is also pretty much always, THANK YOU INTERNET).

So if I don’t use them much professionally, who am I saving them for — friends and family? Yeah. But shouldn’t they have a decent understanding of when I’m being serious and when the Sass Factory is in full production mode? Yeah. Do I only use them because I’m too lazy to be more clear in my writing, or because I feel the constant need to offer an opinion when we all might be better served by my silence? Yeah, and yeah.

The net result is that for the next 40 days, no emoticons for me. That includes using them here — not on my blog, but in comments and responses to comments. That is going to be especially tricky because anyone who reads this is probably somewhere in between best friend and total stranger, that is, aware that I’m a bit of blowhard but not entirely sure how hard I’m blowing. Or sucking.

Here is the part of the post where I would bet you that I’ll get all kinds of new readers based on the fact that this post contains the words “poop” and “friends” and “blowing/sucking” And then I’d include a smilie so that you knew I was just kidding.

Not kidding. *waves at the friendly pervs*

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