Friday, October 4, 2013


Just as celebrities set the trends for fashion and hip-hop artists set the trends for slang, I want to set the trends for icon usage.  Instead of strutting down the red carpet or making the Billboard Top 10, I dream of my text messages on the world's stage. I hope to grace the cover of Wired magazine. 

My pilot, trend-setting icon usage developed from a basic necessity: to text "fuck you" more efficiently. And I am not one to throw out those Bostonian, jovial "fuck yous" superfluously, so if I have the need, I know most of the population has a desperate need for a "fuck you" shortcut.

Recently, I trudged through a near back-breaking week. I saw it coming, which helps so that I can double up on my B12, but it was going to be a lulu to say the least.  Not only do I teach high school, but also I  teach at a junior college. As a result, on Mondays and Wednesdays I work a thirteen-hour day. Recently I had a work week that included writer's group on Tuesday night, and then the most dreaded night of any teacher's life: Back to School Night.

Oh, and I'm forty. For those of you south of thirty-five, who still can glide through those 12-16 hours workdays, beware. While the need to work long, grueling shifts will not end, your ability to work them without feeling hungover for the two days that follow will.

Knowing that this particular week of teaching, writing, and parent schmoozing was going to kick the snot out of me, I sent the following text to my close friends:

"This will be me by Friday." 
Of course, one of my smart-ass friends replied with "That's you now."

In the spirit of friendly texting banter, I wanted to reply with:

Courtesy of iStock Illustration.
But, Apple doesn't provide an emoticon giving the bird.  I would have had to either done the "f-u :)" or "fuck you, lol" but not "fuck you ;)" because then my friend would have thought that I was propositioning her. Besides, the main idea of my original text had been in the picture.  As a professional, I felt the pressure to maintain parallel structure and respond with a picture. But apple doesn't offer an icon with the exact message I meant to send.  I could have texted:

But that doesn't encapsulate my exact message. 

Dammit apple, you give me hypodermic needles, eggs in frying pans,a fish windsock, and an eggplant but no middle finger.  Fine, since I hate waste and I'm fairly certain even the passionate Italian food-lover only has so much need for an eggplant icon, I promote using the eggplant as a substitute for the middle finger.  

So when your friend compares you to a drooling baby, just send: 

When your friend reminds you that you really are a whore, just send: 

When your friend mocks you for getting your ass kicked in Grand Theft Auto 1000, just send: 
And you Bostonians, just text your mother: 

Join me in this emoticon revolution. Work those eggplants! I want to see them spilling out of phones, becoming the most popular dish in any Italian Restaurant, becoming the new black.  Make it happen!


  1. I totally agree...when I get my iPhone one day I will certainly promote the eggplant. btw, is it bad that I'm south of 35 and I struggle with those long days already? Oh boy.

  2. That's fantastic. At my high school, when a swear word comes up in what we're reading, we say "eggplant" instead. And now the class will just say in conversation: Was he being an eggplant? Love this entry.

  3. The eggplant is truly the most useful emoji! I think it really sends the proper message. Nice work.


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