Friday, October 21, 2011

The Little Emoticon


The Little Emoticon had a smile
that could cheer up just about anybody
 .... except you! 

Another Modern Children's Classic
By Perry Block

One upon a time, there was a very nice and kindly man named Gil Petto who lived in a pleasant little town named Collodiville, somewhere far, far away. 

When he was young, Gil had tried to find success as an actor, but he was continually cast in subpar theatrical productions such as The Smell of Music, Rent with an Option to Buy, and Spiderman: Turn Off the Reviews. He retired from show business to become an accountant only to discover he was allergic to the number "8."  Finally he found a career for himself selling used dental floss.

Gil had been unlucky in love as well. For most of his life, he had dreamed of a wife and family. He especially wanted to have a son, but he would have been content with a butch daughter as well.

Marital bliss, however, was not to be. Gil married an attractive but pretentious woman who, knowing Gil was a failed actor and accountant who sold used dental floss, naturally planned for their home in the Hamptons to be constructed in a sort of Beaux Arts style as contrasted with the retro decor of the mansion in Majorca.

After a few years and about the time that Gil's wife was beginning to realize that "biggie sizing" was to be a twice yearly "hell to the winds" frivolity, she  assuaged her frustration by taking a series of lovers. Although Gil was by nature a patient man, the discovery that fading male model Fabio now ran a home remodeling business and had signed on for a year-long renovation of his wife's panties did cause some concern.

The final straw came the day that Gil arrived home early only to find the Kansas City Chiefs and the Norman Luboff Choir arguing over who had dibs to the upstairs hall bathroom.

Crestfallen, Gil retired to a solitary life, spending virtually all his time on Twitter. But though he was lonely  --- as one tends to be when your best friends are @aplusk, @andersoncooper, and @crudface99 --- Gil did come to enjoy fashioning and implementing emoticons, those cute little smiley faces composed of keyboard keystrokes that function as the virtual laugh track of the social networking world.

(Note#1:  I may copyright that phrase. Hands off!)

One evening shortly before bed, Gil wrote a tweet he hoped would be entertaining but which frankly made Tracy Morgan's standup seem like The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Gil knew that he would need a very special emoticon indeed to accompany such a tweet to con people into actually thinking it was funny.

Though not himself Jewish, Gil wanted to use the letters for the expression chai which represents L'Chaim or "to life."  Those letters are actually a het and a yud,  but Gil knew little of the Hebrew alphabet so he mistakenly typed the similar-to-het-looking letter tav.

(Note #2: So I tweaked things a bit. Whaddya going to do, call my rabbi?!!)

Gil tenderly accessed the two Hebrew letters from MS Word Symbols and gently added a simple English language colon.  And when he had completed all the keystrokes needed to create the special emoticon, like Dr. Frankenstein but without the crazed look and wild hair, he gazed upon his creation.

"My Little Emoticon!" he cried aloud. "You are beautiful!   Well, maybe not exactly Justin Bieber but ....."  

And this is what he saw:


The Little Emoticon had the happiest most cheerful smile ever, a smile which couldn't help but make even the most miserable, curmudgeonly, and misanthropic among us feel happy and cheerful too! 

Well, maybe not you.  

Gil applied The Little Emoticon to his pathetically unfunny tweet, and sure enough it became as funny as the movie Role Models starring Paul Rudd and Seann Michael Scott, also starring Jane Lynch.

And Gil was thrilled that The Little Emoticon was half Jewish as well.

"However, I do hope, My Little Emoticon, said Gil, "that you turn out to be Jewish only above the waist, not below!"

When Gil got into bed, he said aloud:

"If only The Little Emoticon could be real boy! Or a butch female, but all things being equal, I'd prefer a boy."

Nighttime passed and a blue shadow spread itself softly across Gil's PC, accompanied by the faint fluttering of wings. It was 7:00 A.M. when Gil, not quite awake, heard a voice.

"Dad?  Dad?  Is that you?" said the voice.

Through the early morning haze, Gil saw a figure. It was five feet tall, composed entirely of keyboard keystrokes, and half Jewish!   Though at this early stage of development, no telling which half was Jewish.

"Emo!  Emo! Is it really you? Or is it Memorex?"  cried Gil, overjoyed at what had taken place but also clearly showing his age as well as the reason his tweets sucked so badly and were so unfunny.

Gil Petto's impossible dream had come true ....

At first everything was wonderful.  The Little Emoticon was as gentle, sweet, and kind as his happy, cheerful smile would suggest.  He always did everything Gil asked him, ate all his vegetables including arugula, and graciously appeared in all Gil's tweets, no matter how totally and pathetically lame and unfunny they were.

However, when he went to school The Little Emoticon, being made up of keyboard keystrokes rather than flesh and blood, was made fun of by the other children. They called him mean nicknames like "Num Lock," and  told him that he would never be man enough to  "Enter," Insert," and "Page Up, Page Down," --- whatever all that meant. 

The other children's taunting made the poor Little Emoticon weep many bitter apostrophe tears which looked like this  ,,,,,,,,,,   ,,,,,,,,, from his two little colon eyes.

Gradually the other children badgered him to appear in tweets where he had no earthly reason to be:
  • He appeared in a tweet for Rupert Murdoch, his joyful smile rendering hacking of private phone accounts a hilarious thing.
  • He appeared in a tweet on behalf of Presidential candidate Herman Cain in which laughs a plenty were garnered by the sight of a cigarette dangling from his tav
  • He appeared in a tweet for the NRA extolling how truly funny it is to be gunned down by an assault rifle.
Finally came the last straw, not to be confused with the final straw earlier in our story.  Gil received a call from the police that The Little Emoticon had been found wandering around stoned-out-of-his-tav in a tweet written by comedian Bob Saget! 

Whatever was a smiley face emoticon doing in a place like that?!!! 

"Emo, my son," said a heavy-hearted Gil Petto, "I'm afraid it's all my fault for asking you to appear in my pathetically unfunny tweets."

"Dad," said The Little Emoticon, "it is not your fault.  Deep down I'm rotten, just like Eve Harrington in All About Eve, Veda in either of the two versions of Mildred Pierce,    :-(  from Perry Block's idiotic posts, or even    from Gmail itself!"

"No, No!" said Gil, " I don't believe that! Perhaps you are ill!"  Gil suddenly noticed that The Little Emoticon did look a bit green around the yud

Gil felt The Little Emoticon's forehead --- that is, the space right above his colon (Of course I realize how ridiculous that sounds!) --- and yes, Emo was burning up as hot as a Johnny Depp movie, excluding The Tourist, of course. 

"My God, Emo, you have a virus!" shouted Gil.

Gil gently lifted up The Little Emoticon and carried him over to the PC where he ran Norton 360 Premier Edition (by Symantic).

"NORTON! NORTON!"  bellowed Gil, now really showing his age.  "Scan my boy Emo for viruses right away .... BANG ZOOM!"

As it turned out, Norton found and fixed over 37 serious risks in The Little Emoticon including several cookies, which believe it or not even in 2011 I still don't know what they are but I'm sure they were delicious.

"Dad!" cried The Little Emoticon. "I may still be partially a colon, but I'm no longer an asshole!"

At once there came a blue shadow against the window and a sound of fluttering, and a young woman with two white feathery wings and a golden wand in her hand flew directly through the window into Gil's house! 

Not much of a security system Gil had; he ought to look into it.

"Hello, Gil," the woman said. "I'm The Blue Fairy.  I brought The Little Emoticon to life to comfort you in your loneliness.  Also frankly I had the weekend free; I don't know many single guys in this town."

"Thank you so much for the gift of life, Blue Fairy!"  exclaimed Gil.  "I'm sure my Dad will slip you a couple of bucks."

"That's not why I'm here, Emo," said The Blue Fairy.  I have one more very important thing to do now that you have proven your heart is good and pure --- with the help of Norton by Symantic. And don't get me started about McAfee!" 

"You're going to make my Dad's tweets funny?" asked Emo.

"No, Emo," said The Blue Fairy, "some things are beyond even my powers. Just remember from now on:  Stay True to Yourself!  Don't Appear in Lame Tweets! And Most Importantly, You Don't Have to Eat Arugula, Whatever the Hell It Is!"

With that, The Blue Fairy waved her wand over the head of The Little Emoticon.  he Little Emoticon began to feel strange.

"Dad, what's happening?!!" he called out in fright. "Is this puberty?"

The Little Emoticon was literally transforming before Gil's startled eyes! 

"Emo!" shouted Gil with joy.  "You're becoming a real boy! 

Emo's tav and yud gave way to a nose and a happy cheerful smile and an entire human body!  Emo's colon transformed itself into bright and inquisitive blue eyes and, of course, a colon.  (And that makes three colon jokes, so that's the last one, folks!)

"This is fantastic!" cried Gil as he embraced his new flesh and blood son."It's incredible what you can do with that wand."

"Thank you, Gil," said the Blue Fairy. "Maybe a little bit later you and I can get together and discuss what you can do with your wand!"

And so Emo --- The Little Emoticon no longer --- lived happily ever after with his parents Gil and Blue Fairy Petto in a pleasant little town named Collodiville, somewhere far, far away.  

As Emo grew into a young man, as Fate would have it, he did indeed prove to be Jewish only above the waist, not below! As for the other half --- well, as Fate would also have it --- Collodiville was in Italy and Gil Petto was Italian!

Now how's that for a happy ending?


Note: Positively no emoticons were harmed in the making of this blog post.

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