Saturday, March 25, 2023

I’m not generally big on texting. I basically just text my wife across the house when I don’t want to yell the same thing up the stairs 10 times or have the kids know what I’m saying. When I was growing up, my parents didn’t actually have texting, so I’m not sure how they had important conversations without us hearing everything. At first they spelled out words, but then they sent us to school and we learned how to spell. Then, for a while, they tried to spell things really, really quickly, and then I think they tried to learn a new language. This is how parents get their kids to want to learn new things.

But we text. We also text when we have a salesman sitting in our dining room who has given us a whole sales pitch, then instructed us to talk it over among ourselves, and then just sits there awkwardly with us and doesn’t leave the room. 

I do get the convenience of texting, though. For one thing, it saves a lot of time, because, basically, all your texts to a given person show up as one very long unending ADHD conversation. You never have to say hello or ask how the person is doing, you just pick up where you left off the last time. You also never say goodbye in a text. A conversation ends when someone doesn’t bother texting back, or takes a month to respond to a question. Then it picks up again when he finally answers the question, and then you scroll up to find out what your question was and whether it’s relevant anymore. Like you suddenly get back a “Yes,” and you scroll up and see that you asked him, “Are you awake?” 

Well, that was a month well spent.

The worst is when you get the dot dot dot (), which means he’s formulating a response, so you stare at the screen in anticipation, and then he just never finishes formulating. Is he having writer’s block? The dots appear, they disappear, they come back, and you think he’s crafting this whole long answer, and then he finally comes back with “K.” That’s it? This whole time you were in middle of typing a “K”?

So there are a lot of emotions involved in texting, many of them involving frustration. And one of the downsides of texting is that, for such an informal means of communication, it’s hard to convey sarcasm. Or happiness. No one can see your face or even hear it in your voice. This is something people complain about all the time. “It’s hard to convey tone in a text message,” they say, in a text message. I know. I’ve written almost 700 humor articles in the past 11 years, and the vast majority of them are received by readers with absolutely no idea how to react emotionally. 

Point is, the issue with texting is that you’re not giving the other person a face he can see, to gauge which emotion you want him to feel. So you want to at least send them a picture of a face.  It doesn’t even have to be your face. It could be Pac Man’s.

Hence the invention of emojis.  Emojis (Japanese for “picture letters”) are little smiley faces that don’t just smile—they convey any emotion that the emoji developers in Japan could imagine, such as the sincere Japanese apology ().  And these pictures also save time, because they’re worth about a thousand words. This is why more and more people are using emojis every day  .

It turns out that smiley faces have more emotions than just smiling. Who knew? Apparently, this smiley face guy is a real fake person with real feelings such as sadness , worry , confusion , disappointed relief , sushi , and a levitating man in a business suit.

“How are you feeling?”

“I’m feeling eggplant.”

So apparently, emojis are not just for emotions anymore. They’re also supposed to represent words that might take a long time to type. For example, if you want to tell someone that the bus is here, you can either write “The bus is here,” or you can push the icon to get to the emojis, scroll around through all the different randomly categorized menus until you get the right one (), and hit “send”  instead of having to type out “bus,” which is three letters. And by then the bus has left, so you have to find the picture for “train.” Luckily, there are, for some reason, 12 of them   .  And three of aerial tramways.  Why are there three pictures of aerial tramways but there is no picture of shrugging? How does one smile that big without showing any bottom teeth? And what on earth is this? 

There’s no instruction manual. You just get rows and rows of pictures, and everyone uses whatever emojis they want to put together sentences, and that’s great, but technically you have to remember that there’s supposed to be some kind of communication here, and no one knows what you’re saying if you just start making things up .

So here are a bunch of emojis, along with their actual meanings, that convey messages you might find yourself using every day:

 “Can you please pass me my bottom dentures?” 

 “I’m so tired I’ve got bags under my eyes.”

 “Have you seen my eye patch anywhere?”

 “I think we need to call someone to fix the roof.”

 “Don’t ask me! I just got here!”

 “Did I get the spot?”

 “Um…  I need a favor.”

 Happy blind man

 “I wonder what this socket—yaah!”

 “What do you mean I have a double chin?”

 “I’m so mad that my uncle took my nose!”

 “Mmm mmm MM mm hm hm.”

 “Your breath is so bad I can smell it through the phone.” 

 “Whose thumbs are these?”

 “I say we blame this on the dog.”

 “Am I backlit? I feel like I’m backlit.”

 “I think I stepped in the paint.”

 “What?! You caught me in middle of shaving.”

 “What?! I just got out of the shower.”

 “Can’t talk now. Busy.”

 “Texting while driving.”

 X-ray selfie.

 “After this workout I’m going to get pizza.”

 “Now my tefillin doesn’t fit!”

 “I think I got both mosquitoes!”

 “I have a question.”

 “Does this look infected?”

 “I’m high-fiving myself over here.”

 “My kid planted beans in school.”

 European outlet.

 “I’ve got fresh lulavim, but you have to pick them yourself.”

 “Time to bentch licht.”

 “I think that was lashon hara.”

 “It probably was.”




 “I think that’s ribbit.”

 “I’m feeling bloated.”


 “Kiddush Levana.”

 “Who left the umbrella outside?”

 “Higiya z’man Kriyas Shema shel Shacharis.”

 “We forgot to make the eggplant.”

 “Why on earth are the potatoes orange?”

 “So what are these black things?”
 “We forgot plates.”

 “We also forgot spoons.”

 “Quick! Call Hatzalah!”

 “Turns out my phone’s waterproof.”

 “I found your ironing board.”

 “Do you smell carrots?”

 “I don’t know how to feel about that.”

 “What?! That is too a black hat!”

 “Come down. We’re making Havdalah.”

 “The house is tiny, but it has big windows.”

 “Come for duchaning.”

 “This is just how I look in pictures.”

 “Oops! Dropped my tray.”

 “I don’t know where all my money goes.”

 “What is this from?”

 “It’s an old message.”

 “I think I over-sharpened it.”

 “The key is bigger than the lock.”

 “No walking around without necks.”

 “No playing kugelach.”

 “Don’t drink from the outside faucet.”

 “No life.”

 “Just no.”

 “I just got the joke.”

 “It’s on your right! Sorry, my right.”

 “Let’s darshen about it.”

 “I’m making challah.”

 “I fell asleep.”

 “Something’s not quite kosher.”

 “I have an old phone.”

 “Wear a helmet.”

 “My boss is hovering.”

 “I’m up! I’m up.”

 “Why do you keep putting weird things in the salad?”

 “I just got back from the dentist.”

 “I said don’t shake the table!”

 “My hands shake sometimes.”

 “Wipe that smirk off your face, or I’ll wipe it off for you.”

 “I think the construction workers are asleep.”

 “Something went horribly wrong with the laser eye surgery.” 


 “The chazan got snowed in.”

 “The baby is yellow.”

 “How on earth am I supposed to close this?” 

Maybe like this: Texting is a great tool sometimes, but just like emojis, if you overuse it, people will stay far away from you                                  .  Sometimes your friends want to speak to a person . 

I said a person.

And it could be you’re doing something really important on that phone. But to everyone around you, you look like this . 

And that’s just sadness.

By Mordechai Schmutter


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